Lots of underage social networkers

Thirteen is the minimum age of the world’s most popular social network sites, including in the UK, and a quarter of British 8-to-12-year-olds who use the Net at home have profiles on social-network sites, according to study by UK regulator Ofcom. Given similarly high levels of Internet use on both sides of the Pond, I doubt US figures for underage social networkers would be much different (I’m aware of no parallel study done in the US). Ofcom also found that 37% of 5-to-7-year-old home Net users had visited Facebook (but didn’t necessarily have a profile). The good news is that 83% of 8-to-12-year-olds with profiles have them set so that only social-site friends can see them, and 4% have profiles that can’t be seen at all. “Nine in ten parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93%) also say they check what their child is doing on these types of sites.” Here’s another important takeaway, pointing to a growing need for solid new-media-literacy training in school: According to The Telegraph’s coverage: Among kids 10 and under, “70% of those using blogs or information sites such as Wikipedia believed all, or most, of what they read.”


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