Significant numbers of children are breaking the rules by setting up their own profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, finds a new EU Kids Online study.
The report, Social Networking, Age and Privacy, found that 38 per cent of 9-12-year-olds use social networking sites, with one in five of the age group having a profile on Facebook, even though the network sets a minimum age of 13 to join.
"Since children often lie about their age to join 'forbidden' sites it would be more practical to identify younger users and to target them with easy-to-use protective measures."
Researchers who carried out the EU Kids Online survey of 25,000 young people across Europe say it shows that age restrictions are only partially effective and that a growing number of children are taking online risks.
A quarter of children on social networking sites have their profile set to ‘public’. One fifth of children whose profile is public display their address and/or phone number, twice as many as for those with private profiles.
Professor Sonia Livingstone from the London School of Economics and Political Science, who directs the project, said: ‘It seems clear that children are moving to Facebook – this is now the most popular site in 17 of the 25 countries we surveyed. Many providers try to restrict their users to 13-year-olds and above but we can see that this is not effective.’
Especially younger children are less likely to use privacy options and to understand the safety features that are available. According to the report, across the 25 European countries surveyed, 57 per cent of children (aged 9 to 16) use Facebook as their sole or main social networking site. This ranges from 98 per cent in Cyprus, to only two per cent in Poland.
Need for better protective measures
The findings raise the possibility that removing age restrictions from social network sites might be the most effective way of improving online safety as the rules have the consequence of driving kids’ social networking underground.
Among other findings, the survey shows that almost one in six 9-12-year-olds, and one in three 13-16s, have 100 or more online contacts. Around a quarter of SMS users communicate online with people who have no connection to their offline lives, including one fifth of 9-12 year olds across all SMS (and one quarter of younger Facebook users).
Key findings of the report:
Social networking sites (SNS) are popular among European children: 38% of 9-12 year olds and 77% of 13-16 year olds have a profile. Facebook is used by one third of 9-16 year old internet users.
One in five 9-12 year olds have a Facebook profile, rising to over 4 in 10 in some countries.
Age restrictions are only partially effective, although there are many differences by country and SNS.
Younger children are more likely than older to have their profile ‘public’. A quarter of 9-12 year old SNS users have their profile ‘set to public’.
Parental rules for SMS use, when applied, are partly effective, especially for younger children.
One fifth of children whose profile is public display their address and/or phone number, twice as many as for those with private profiles.
The features designed to protect children from other users if needed are not easily understood, by many younger and some older children.
Fast Company just released its list of the most innovative companies in the world, and Togetherville ranked #5 on their education list! Other notable mentions on this list include LinkedIn and the Discovery Channel.
To learn more on how Togetherville, the social networking site for kids,families and teachers, is building a platform for these communities to share and express their thoughts on educational issues, click here.
This report by Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center takes a fresh look at data emerging from studies undertaken by Sesame Workshop, independent scholars, foundations, and market researchers on the media habits of young children, who are often overlooked in the public discourse that focuses on tweens.
The report reviews seven recent studies about young children and their ownership and use of media. By focusing on very young children and analyzing multiple studies over time, the report arrives at a new, balanced portrait of children’s media habits.
Always Connected was written by Aviva Lucas Gutnick, Michael Robb, Lori Takeuchi and Jennifer Kotler.
The LG Text Ed program, which was launched in early 2010, offers parents a number of articles, tips, videos and other content so they can educate themselves on the dangers of mobile phone misuse, employ strategies to help protect their children from potential problems, and discover how they might be modeling their children’s mobile phone behavior.
Bringing her trademark intensity and flair to the LG Text Ed campaign, award-winning actress Jane Lynch is working with LG Mobile Phones to raise awareness about risky mobile phone behavior.
In a series of comedic vignettes, which can be viewed on www.LGTextEd.com, Lynch tackles issues such as sexting, texting while driving, mobile bullying, and other questionable teen behaviors.
At the end of each video, Lynch directs parents to LGTextEd.com where they can find professional advice and guidance to help promote safe and responsible mobile usage among their text- and tech-savvy families.
In the texting while driving video, Lynch confronts a classroom of parents about their own texting and driving bad habits and urges parents to model good behavior for their children.
Using humor to get to the heart of the issue, Lynch helps parents help themselves by putting the phone away in the car and encouraging their kids to do the same.
Cellphones, Facebook, Instant Messaging : Kids use these tools to communicate with friends, but they can also abuse them. In this video, Common Sense Media presents tips and guidance on managing kids' digital lives to keep them safe, protected, respectful, and responsible.
1. Social Networking: Social Networking is increasingly prevalent in children's lives. Facebook is now the favorite website among tween (8-11) boys and teen (12-15) girls.
2. Key Demographic and "Sweet Spot": Online games dominate for boys and girls ages 8-11. 91% of tween boys and 93% of tween girls play games online.
3. Nintendo Dominates Handheld Gaming Space: But thanks largely to the iPad and iPhone, Apple is becoming a significant player especially with girls.
4. Portable Platform Discrepancy: Sony's PSP has largest gender discrepancy. 17% of teen girls play games on the PSP compared to 44% of teen boys.
5. Strong Videogame Franchises: Franchises continue to flourish at the top of the "Favorites" list for boys and girls. The videogame franchise girls prefer is the Mario Series, with 20% of girls picking it as their favorite. Boys prefer Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, with 36% of teen boys picking it as their favorite game.
"We have found kids tend to play a wide variety of games, and their favorite games and gaming sites change often." explains Louise Curcio, M2 Research Analyst. "There are opportunities for companies, and we believe the kids market has been overlooked."
Think you can guess which Americans talk or text the most on their mobile phones?
American kids under 18 send and receive roughly 2,800 texts per month, according to Nielsen, or about 93 per day. (Assuming 7 hours of sleep per night, on average, that's about 5.5 per hour spent awake, or one every 10 minutes or so.) In the next two age brackets, text-message usage falls by more than half each.
African-Americans and Hispanics Text the Most
According to Nielsen, African-Americans use the most voice minutes – on average more than 1,300 a month. Hispanics are the next most talkative group, chatting an average of 826 minutes a month. Even Asians/Pacific Islanders, with 692 average monthly minutes, talk more than Whites, who use roughly 647 voice minutes a month.
The voice and text results are compiled from one year (April 2009-March 2010) of mobile usage data gathered by the The Nielsen Company, which analyzes the cellphone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers each month in the United States.
Women Have Their Say
And if you think women in the U.S. talk more than men on their cellphones, Nielsen data confirms your suspicion. On average, women talk 22 % more than men (856.3 minutes a month compared to men’s 666.7).
Turns out, American women are more communicative in general on mobile devices; they text more, too, sending or receiving an average of 601 SMS messages a month compared to the 447 monthly text messages sent or received by the average American male.
Teens Rule for Texting
Not surprisingly, teens text the most, sending or receiving an amazing 2,779 SMS messages a month. In the next two age brackets, text usage falls by more than half each time, with those aged 18-24 sending or receiving 1,299 messages and those aged 25-34 exchanging an average of 592 messages.
While the text usage varies greatly between those 18-24 and those 25-34, their voice usage is quite close (981 voice minutes for 18-24 and 952 minutes a month for those 25-34 years old.)
The South Speaks Up
Location plays into usage patterns as well. Southerners are the most talkative, but while Florida ranks high in terms of monthly voice minutes used, it ranks very low for text messaging (the state has one of the highest median ages and older Americans text the least.) Mississippi, interestingly enough, ranks high for both talking and texting.
Although adults often jump at the chance to catch up on their reading during vacations, many children and teenagers, particularly those from low-income families, read few, if any, books during the summer break from school.
But the price for keeping the books closed is a high one. Several studies have documented a “summer slide” in reading skills once school lets out each spring. The decline in reading and spelling skills are greatest among low-income students, who lose the equivalent of about two months of school each summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association, an education advocacy group. And the loss compounds each year.
Now new research offers a surprisingly simple, and affordable, solution to the summer reading slide. In a three-year study, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that simply giving low-income children access to books at spring fairs — and allowing them to choose books that most interested them — had a significant effect on the summer reading gap.