Under age use of Social Networking sites is rife according to Ofcom research

New Ofcom research published today suggests that one quarter of children aged 8-12 who use the internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace. All of these social networking sites have a minimum user age of 13.

However the research, published in Ofcom’s annual  Children’s Media Literacy Audit, suggests that 83 per cent of these children have their profile set so that it can only be seen by friends, and 4 per cent have a profile that can’t be seen mat all. Nine in ten parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93 per cent) also say that they check what their child is doing on these types of sites. However one in six (17 per cent) parents of this group are not aware that their child visits social networking sites.

The full report, which also looks at overall use of the internet by young people, including downloading and search engine use can be found here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/advice/media_literacy/medlitpub/medlitpubrss/ukchildrensml/.

A useful set of advice for parents and carers on keeping children safe on the internet can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consumer/2009/10/managing-your-media-protecting-your-children-in-a-digital-world/.