59% of UK Ten-Year Olds Have Used at Least One Social Network

Parents in the UK don’t know where their children are – online, at least.

teen-onlineNew data was compiled by internet safety firm KnowTheNet.org, who surveyed parents and children to uncover trends about minors and social media use, and related conclusions for and about parents.

The survey, conducted in October of 2013, polled 1,006 parents of kids aged 8-16 years old and 1,004 similarly aged children. The summary of the results is as follows:

  1. Only 32% of parents feel “very confident’ in their ability to help kids stay safe online
  2. YouTube is the most frequently cited place kids get started on social media, usually at by age 9
  3. By the age of 10, 59% of children are using at least one social network
  4. 53% of kids aged 8-16 admit to having ignored Facebook’s age limit
  5. By 11 years of age, most kids have posted a picture or video of themselves online
  6. 23% of kids 8-16 admitted to having posted negative comments on social media or set up a fake profile, usually starting at age 11
  7. 43% had messaged strangers, usually by the age of 12,
  8. 63% of parents claim to check their children’s internet activity at lest weekly

If points 1 through 7 above are true, which seems likely to us, we find it hard to believe that point 8 is also true. Oftentimes in our experience parents are either too busy or not tech savvy enough to effectively monitor what kids are doing online, but claim that they do because they don’t want to sound like bad parents.

The age limit for most social media outlets including YouTube and Facebook is 13, both in the UK and here in the U.S. We doubt that 59% of parents of 10 year olds are agreeing to let their kids join social networks, especially given the fact that these parents have misgivings about their ability to help their kids stay safe.

There are resources available to parents who are overwhelmed by what kids are doing online, but talking to kids about what they are up to forms the best foundation of knowledge for parents – an open, honest discussion, preferably with the kid’s phone on the table between them. Questions like, “What is this app?”, “What do you use it for?” and “Who are you communicating with?” are a great first step.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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