A third of children aged 7 to 9 use social media apps

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Teens making Tik Tok dance videos, communicating through Snapchat, and developing their own Instagram accounts have become mainstream in the modern digital age.

But social platforms are also becoming familiar to young children, with parents reporting in a new national survey that half of children aged 10 to 12 and one-third of children aged 7 to 9 use their devices to chat with others. others on social media apps.

And while most parents track their kids’ social media usage, one in six doesn’t use any parental controls for their kid’s social apps, According to the University of Michigan Health’s national survey CS Mott Children’s Hospital on children’s health.

“There’s always a debate about when it’s too early when it comes to using social apps and how parents should oversee it,” said Sarah Clark, MPH, co-director of Mott Poll.

“Our survey examines how often tweens and young children use social platforms and how well parents monitor these interactions.”

The nationally representative report is based on responses from 1,030 parents with at least one child aged 7 to 12.

Track kids on social apps

Parents cite several challenges in monitoring their children’s social media use, with one in five saying they couldn’t find the information they needed to set up parental controls. Another two in five said monitoring social media took too long, while just over a third felt parental controls were a waste of time because children would find a loophole in parental controls.

Clark says parents should help kids navigate the world of social media to help them understand the harms of over-sharing and interacting with strangers.

“If parents allow young children to engage in social media, they should take responsibility for making the child’s online environment as safe as possible,” Clark said. “If parents cannot commit to taking an active role in their child’s use of social media, they should make their child wait to use these apps. ”

When deciding which apps are appropriate and safe for their child, nearly three in four parents surveyed said they wondered if the app had parental controls while more than three in five looked at an app’s age. or if it is needed for school.


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