Using social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat before age 11 was significantly related to more problematic digital behaviour compared to those who joined these platforms when they were older, finds a new study
This study showed that creating social media profiles before age 11 was associated with having online friends or joining social media sites that parents would disapprove of, more problematic digital technology behaviour, more unsympathetic online behaviour, and greater likelihood of online harassment and sexual harassment victimisation. However, some of these effects were lessened when parents restricted phone use and limited how often their kids checked social media.
“Social media sites require a minimum age of 13 to register, but the reality is that many users are younger than that: One-third of our sample had already started using social media at age 11 or 12 and some had begun at age 10 or younger,” said lead author Linda Charmaraman, director of the Youth, Media and Wellbeing Research Lab at the Wellesley Centers for Women. “This study helps us understand the risks and benefits for kids and tweens, so that parents and policymakers can make decisions that prioritise their well being,” she added.
The team surveyed 773 middle schoolers in the US about their social media initiation, digital behaviour, and parental restrictions on digi tal use. “The findings suggest that the industrybased age minimum of 13 for social media users may potentially be a good standard, if it can be enforced,” said Charmaraman. Advx.org news