Tons of tweens are using social media, even though for most popular networks it is either disallowed or discouraged. According to a recent survey, most U.S. tweens have at least one social media account and often use it without parental supervision.
Facebook is the reigning champ among tweens, despite a requirement that users be at least 13 years old to hold an account. Despite this, a whopping 85 percent of tweens said that they have a Facebook and admit to using it every day. This number has spiked dramatically in recent years, as well. In 2009, a similar report found that 54 percent of tweens own and operate a Facebook page.
“Younger and younger kids are going out there really unsupervised,” Michelle Dennedy of the online security company McAfee said.
McAfee commissioned the survey of 1,173 young people and 1,301 parents.
Though the primary concerns facing tweens on social media include cyberbullying, pornography and sexual predators, 82 percent of pre-teens think that social media is pretty safe, and over half of surveyed tweens have even shared personal details like their email addresses and the school they attend. About 79 percent of parents also think that social media is safe.
Some more highlights from the survey:
- 80 percent of parents say that they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with their child’s online habits.
- Only 9 percent of parents know how to find out what their children are doing online.
- 58 percent of tweens say they know how to keep their online usage a secret.
- Roughly 25 percent admitted to clearing or hiding what they do online.
- About 71 percent of parents said that they have had conversations with their children about online behavior.
- 44 percent of children admitted to having these same discussions.
“There’s a lot of positive stuff out there, and what we have to do as adults is really separate the good from the bad,” Dennedy said. “It’s still the Wild West out there and because they are digital natives, our youth are engaging in all kinds of unsafe behavior without the benefit of how their actions will affect their lives.”
Do you think that tweens should be allowed to use social media? Are social networks safe for young children? Sound off!