Younger children and social networking sites: a blind spot Online experiences of 11-12 year olds and how to protect them
This report describes the experiences of 11 and 12 year olds on social networking sites and looks at the roles parents, social network providers and regulation can play in protecting them.
It presents the findings from an online self-completion survey of 1,024 11-16 year olds in the UK, 28% of which were aged 11-12 years.
Our research found 23% of 11 and 12 year olds with a social networking site profile had been upset by something on it over the last year.
Authors: Claire Lilley and Ruth Ball
- Around half of 11 and 12 year olds in the UK have an underage profile.
- Many of the most popular sites amongst 11 and 12 year olds, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, have a minimum age of 13.
- 23% of 11 and 12 year olds with a social networking site profile say they have been upset by something on it over the last year.
- 18% of these felt upset or scared for weeks or months after the incident occurred.
- 20% experienced something that upset them every day or almost every day.
- 62% of these experiences were caused by strangers or people they only knew online.
- Some providers of social networking sites with a minimum age of 13 say they do not provide bespoke advice for children under the age of 13, because they are not supposed to have a profile on their sites.
- Nearly half (45%) of parents whose child had an underage profile on Facebook were unaware of the minimum age of 13 requirement (Ofcom, 2013).
- All social networking sites should acknowledge that large numbers of underage children are using their sites, and increase the protection offered to younger children accordingly.
- Ofcom should play a greater role in providing information for parents about social networking sites, and the risks children face on them.
- The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) should make tackling the risks children, including younger children, experience on social networking sites a priority issue; and independently evaluate the efforts made by social networking sites to improve child safety.
- More research should be done into why younger children are joining social networking sites, their perceptions of risk, and the experiences and behaviour of specific sub-groups of children on such sites.
|Section 1: 11 and 12 year olds’ use of social networking sites||11|
|Section 2: The experiences of younger children||13|
|Experience of things which have bothered them||13|
|Experience of particular things||14|
|Who children identified as responsible||16|
|How they felt||17|
|Section 3: The role of parents||20|
|Section 4: The role of social network providers and regulation||21|
|Section 5: Recommendations||25|
|Appendix 1: Methodology and ethics||27|
|Appendix 2: Population data||28|
|Appendix 3: Quotations||30|
Please cite as: Lilley, C. and Ball, R. (2013) Youngerchildren and social networking sites: a blind spot. [London]: NSPCC.
Sexting and young people: the parent's view
Online abuse: learning from case reviews
Experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites
Sexting: an exploration of practices, attitudes and influences
Qualitative study of children, young people and 'sexting'
Be Share Aware
Just like real life, kids need your help to stay safe online. We've got tips and advice to help you keep your child safe on social networks, apps and games.
Your guide to social networks
Net Aware is our no-nonsense guide to the social networks, sites and apps children use.
Talking to your child about staying safe online
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
How safe are our children? Growing up online
Our annual flagship conference is for everyone working in child protection.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.
New in the Library
A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.
Helping you keep children safe
Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.
Impact and evidence
Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Training and consultancy
Sharing knowledge to keep children safe
Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.