Social media platforms have no way of closing out under age users

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  • 5 years ago
  • Posted: February 9, 2016 at 4:11 pm

According to a survey done by CBBC Newsround; more than three-quarter of children aged 10 to 12 in UK alone have social media accounts. The survey also suggests that more than one in five children have faced online bullying.

A global event dubbed Safer Internet Day was launched is to encourage safe and responsible use of internet since kids have developed new hobbies on social media which can lead to isolation or other related depressive traits.

Social media network Instagram said if anyone suspected accounts were run by under-13s, they should report them. The Comres survey for Newsround, based on 1,200 young people aged between 10 and 18, found social media to be an important part of everyday life.

Social media language

Social media does not have a language policy where unkind words or negative propaganda can be monitored effectively hence making it a platform where kids get to learn weird sayings and insults.

According to the survey, among 13- to 18-year-olds, 96% were signed up to social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp. Among under-13s, 78% were using at least one social media network, despite being below the age requirement. Facebook was the most popular with under-13s, with 49% claiming to be users.

Instagram was used by 41% of 10 to 12 year olds and the company said “keeping the community safe” online was its “number one priority.”

The two social media platforms have notorious users who may post anything to gain likes. As a result, kids are exposed to negative social media language.

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“We require anyone on Instagram to be over the age of 13, and we have clear community guidelines and in-app tools to help people report anything that may make them feel uncomfortable,” said a spokesman.

“Most of the experiences of users were positive, but particularly for older children, online networks could be used for more destructive purposes. Among 16 to 18 year olds, two in five had used social media to spread gossip and a quarter had used it to say something unkind or rude to someone else online. More than half of these older children had seen online bullying.” The spokesman added.

The Safer Internet Day, backed by technology firms and the government, commissioned its own survey of 13 to 18 year olds, and found that more than four in five had seen “online hate”, such as offensive or threatening language.

More than two-thirds of young people knew they could report such offensive language, but in practice, people were much more likely to ignore it.

Eileen Naughton, Google UK’s managing director, said: “The internet is a great place for education, creativity and entertainment, but we know kids need the right skills to navigate the web and stay safe online.”

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