More than half of parents unaware of age limit on social media

New figures suggest parents don't know if their children are old enough to use social networks like Facebook or Snapchat

Girls checking phone

The majority of parents across the country don't know whether their children are old enough to be using social networks.

Shockingly, 1 in 5 parents think that there are no age requirements at all for social media.

Some sites can be a dangerous place for younger children, potentially exposing them to bullying, inappropriate content or grooming. But they can also provide important support networks for younger people.

It’s vital that social media companies make age restrictions clearer on sign up pages, so that younger people and parents can be confident using social networks safely.

Our advice for families, on Online Safety and from our Net Aware service will help you learn how to keep children safe online.

"I’m really upset. The other day my friend showed me some horrible pictures that people were posting on Instagram of me...I’ve been bullied before and now it’s on Instagram and I can’t seem to get away from it and everyone else can see it too."
Anonymous / 11 year old

Claire Lilley, NSPCC Head of Online Safety, said:
"We can all do our bit to keep children safe online, and ensure their experience of social media is a positive one.

"Age restrictions need to reflect the content and conduct possible on each site and be crystal clear to parents and their younger users. And platforms need to work harder to protect children and young people, building in child safety to the design of each site.

‘Parents can be proactive by having conversations with their children about online safety as soon as they start using the internet. The NSPCC’s Net Aware service can give practical tips such as how to switch on parental controls, or manage privacy settings.."

Get expert advice

Parents seeking face-to-face advice about how to best protect their children online can make an appointment with the NSPCC’s O2 gurus in their nearest store or can call the O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline.

0808 800 5002

Call us today

Ways to help keep children safe


All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person. Quotes are created from real Childline contacts but are not necessarily direct quotes from the young person.


  1. Online survey of 4,000 people in the UK, 2,608 of whom were parents. Carried out 14 – 25 November 2016 by ResearchBods Ltd on behalf of the NSPCC.