Children under 10 use social media, survey finds

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“There’s always a debate about when it’s too early to use social apps and how parents should watch it,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of Mott Poll, a pediatric researcher at the University of Michigan, in A declaration. “Our survey examines how often tweens and young children use social platforms and how well parents monitor these interactions.”

The results are “further proof that children under 13 are eager to use social media platforms, for whatever reason – entertainment, celebrity, connecting with friends or being drawn to promotional design. of joint engagement on these sites, ”said Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, via email. Radesky was not involved in the poll.

When deciding which apps were appropriate for their child, over 60% of parents considered whether the apps were controlled by parents, if they were deemed appropriate for their child’s age group, or if they were needed for the child. their child’s education. Between 51% and 66% of parents have used parental blocks on certain sites, parental approval for new contacts, privacy settings, daily time limits, and a passcode for certain content.

Many parents were also concerned about their child’s ability to safely browse social media apps. Some feared that their child would share private information without realizing it, encounter sexual predators, see mature pictures or videos, or be unable to discern which information is true or false. Nearly 50% of parents of children using social media were not convinced their child would be able to tell if another user was an adult or a child, which can be difficult to discern, according to the report.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires operators of apps and other online services to provide parental control options over the disclosure of private information, the poll authors wrote. But 17% of parents of kids using social media apps said they didn’t use any parental controls – for reasons such as not being able to find the information they needed to set up parental controls, believing that Monitor their kid’s social media usage apps were taking too long or seen as a waste of time as kids find ways to bypass parental controls.

“Parents are in such a state of utter exhaustion at this point in the pandemic, so it’s only reasonable that they feel overwhelmed or worthless when trying to keep up with the social media platforms that are fueled by billions of people. revenue dollars and huge data analysis capacity, ”said Radesky.

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However, if “parents allow young children to engage in social media, they should take responsibility for making the child’s online environment as safe as possible,” Clark said, even though he was embarrassing. “If parents cannot commit to taking an active role in their child’s use of social media, they should make their child wait to use these apps.”

Helping your child stay safe online

That the use of social media by these children may have included child-friendly versions or sections of apps is possible, the authors wrote. Additionally, some apps designed specifically for young children have tried to limit security risks by restricting features like posting photos or using private chats, or offering usage reports to parents.

For parents who are considering letting their child use certain social media apps, research them first, Clark advised. “Parents should check to see if the content is curated to only allow youth-friendly programming or if there is a moderator who removes inappropriate content,” she said. “They should also use parental blocks or access codes for certain sites or content.”

For resources on managing children’s social media use, Radesky recommended that parents visit the age-based guidance on Common Sense Media, an independent rights organization providing expert advice, research and tools to help parents, educators and advocates ensure the digital well-being of children.
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Parents can also consult the information collected by the creators of the film “Screenagers“and included in the Dr Delaney Ruston’s weekly blog, the filmmaker of the film, said Radesky. The blog “is worth following” for ways to talk to your kids about what can often be tricky and difficult to discuss with teens, Radesky added.
Regarding how parents can discuss their social media concerns in a way that might resonate with their kids, Radesky suggested “talking about hot topics like Facebook files. Kids will want to know when they’re being exploited, and that could help spark a conversation about when tech companies cross a line. ”

Whenever Radesky’s young sons are allowed social media accounts, she frequently explains to them whether the body image content they see online is inappropriate, exploitative or disturbing, she said. .

There are also potential solutions for parents who are unsure whether their child can distinguish between an adult and a child, or between truth and misinformation. “Encourage children not to respond to direct messages or posts from people they don’t know, even if that person says they are a child,” Radesky said.

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And “a lot of social media content is enlarged, filtered, or altered in some way to get more engagement in the referral feed. Teach kids to have a healthy dose of skepticism when they do. reviewing a flow of recommendations is crucial right now, ”says Radesky. “Children can learn these skills, but they will need the support of parents and teachers.”

Education works, according to the poll. According to the survey results, parents whose children were taught to use social media safely through their schools were more confident in their children’s social media judgment. This suggests that school digital literacy and citizenship programs could transfer to family life or spark more fruitful conversations between parents and children, Radesky said.

“It is also possible that children who are fortunate enough to attend schools that teach digital citizenship are also found in neighborhoods of higher socioeconomic status, where parents may feel more effective in dealing with technology.” , added Radesky.

“In my 2016 study By interviewing parents from low-income backgrounds, the suburbs, universities and tech companies, the latter two groups felt much more empowered to handle these types of complex conversations and set the rules, ”he said. she declared.

Below is information on setting up parental or security controls available on popular social media platforms:


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