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Under-age Social Media Use 'On the Rise' in the UK

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Under-age Social Media Use 'On the Rise' in the UK

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on BBC.com.

Half of children aged 11 and 12 have a social media profile, despite most platforms' minimum age being 13, a study from UK regulator Ofcom suggests.

The children's charity, NSPCC, called on the government to act on the issue of under-age profiles.

The media watchdog also said children were increasingly getting their news from social media, but most were aware of the concept of fake news.

Ofcom's Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes report found that 46% of 11-year-olds, 51% of 12-year-olds and 28% of 10-year-olds now have a social media profile.

Parental awareness of the age limit was low - with about eight in 10 of those parents whose children use Instagram or Snapchat unaware of the restrictions.

More than four in 10 said they would allow their child to use social media ahead of them reaching the minimum age required.

The NSPCC said: "Social networks are clearly turning a blind eye when it comes to children under 13 signing up for their services.

"For too long sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have failed to protect children on their platforms and government urgently needs to step in."

It is recommending that ministers force social networks to design child protections into their services via an amendment to the Data Protection Bill, which is due to be voted on in two week's time.

A spokeswoman for Facebook - which also owns Instagram - said that it enforced its pre-teen ban.

"When we become aware that someone is under 13 and they have therefore lied about their age, we remove their account and we use cookies to prevent them from signing up again," she said.

Source: BBC.com