According to a report set to coincide with Safer Internet Day, more than three quarters of 10-12 year olds have a social media account, despite the recommended age limits that platforms like Facebook put in place.
A survey commissioned by Newsround of over 1,000 children aged 10-18, it was found that 78% of those under 13 have a social media account.
Furthermore, 22% of those had experienced some form of bullying online.
Over a third said that they had made friends online that they had never met in person.
49% of 10-12 year olds have a Facebook account, while 40% reported having an Instagram account. 38% and 28% had a WhatsApp and Snapchat account respectively.
Although the internet, and especially social media, have brought us closer together, and allow us to connect, or stay connected, with people on the other side of the planet, children are being exposed to a relatively unprecedented world, and putting themselves in possible danger.
On the other hand, the digital world is a fantastic tool and we shouldn’t hide children away from it in fear and cause it to become taboo, as they could use it to learn and grow and make legitimate friends. More safety measures and work into safety on the internet should instead be looked into.
Rather tellingly, 47% of young people asked (aged 10-18) reportedly said that they didn’t think that social media accounts took bullying seriously, so is the onus on them to make sure that their platforms are safe for all ages?
Either way, safety on the internet is a real life concern, one that society is now having to tackle for the first time. February 9th is Internet Safety Day, which helps to raise awareness of the issue, and helps us to bear in mind both the good and the bad when it comes to surfing the net.