Ofcom’s Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes Report 2017 found that six out of 10 parents of kids who use Facebook didn’t know there was a lower age restriction, or wasn’t sure waht age it was set at.
In the survey - which included 1,388 parents of children aged five to 15, along with 677 parents of children aged three to four - nearly eight out 10 parents (79%) whose kids use Instagram were not able to give the correct age guidelines.
And the majority (85%) did not know the age restrictions on Snapchat.
What are the age guidelines?
Facebook: requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). Creating an account with false info is a violation of their terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13.
Instagram: requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.
Snapchat: no-one under 13 is allowed to create an account or use the services.
Twitter: you must be at least 13 years old to use the services.
Within the report, some parents who were aware of the age restrictions said they would allow their children to open an account before they reached 13.
Among parents of children aged between five and 15, over four in ten (43%) said they would allow their child to use social media sites ahead of them reaching the minimum age required.
One reason was because nearly all parents of five- to 15-year-olds (96%) say they mediate their children’s use of the internet.
This includes having regular conversations with their child about online safety, using technical tools such as network-level filters, imposing rules about internet use, or directly supervising their child. Two in five parents (40%) use all four methods.
The report found that more than a quarter (28%) of 10-year-olds have a social media profile (on any of the above platforms), rising to around half of children aged 11 or 12 (46% and 51% respectively).