Children ignoring age limits on social media, survey finds

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22nd February 2016 10:26 - Information Technology

According to new research, pre-teen children, are ignoring age limits on social media and signing up despite being too young. As well as this, older teenagers were found to be impressed by cybercrime.Children ignoring age limits on social media, survey finds

The survey discovered that 35 per cent of those between the ages of 16 and 19 would be impressed if a friend committed acts of cybercrime, such as hacking into a website.

The market research was commissioned after the National Crime Agency revealed that the average age of a cybercrime suspect is just 17 years old. To illustrate this, the research discovered that 12 per cent of teenagers in the survey knew someone who had been involved in an activity online, which could be regarded as illegal.

Psychologist Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, from University College London claimed that this is an example of classic teenage rebellion moving into the digital world.

He said: "Cybercrimes represent an attack on the 'system' and allow individuals to express their teenage angst... and to achieve the kind of social validation and attention that many teenagers seek."

A pair of separate surveys, which were conducted to mark the annual Safer Internet Day, discovered that approximately 75 per cent of children aged 10 to 12 have at least one social media account even though they are below the age limit of 13. As well as this, 1 in 3 teenagers have seen their friends writing mean, threatening or offensive posts online.

An alternative survey also revealed that 68 per cent of children who had witnessed hate speech online knew how to report it to the social networking website. However, just 20 per cent had reported an incident themselves.

Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, Will Gardner, said of the discoveries:

"It is a wake-up call for all of us to play our part in helping create a better internet for all to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology provides for building mutual respect and dialogue, facilitating rights, and empowering everyone to be able to express themselves and be themselves - whoever they are."

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