U.S. tweens active, unmonitored on social media: survey

Tue Jun 4, 2013 8:03am EDT
 
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By Gianna Palmer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most U.S. tweens, 10- to 12-year-olds, have at least one social media account and many go online without any supervision from their parents, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

Facebook is the most popular platform among tweens. Although the site says users must be at least 13 years old to log on, 85 percent of tweens said they have an account and a similar number admit they use it every day.

"Younger and younger kids are going out there really unsupervised," said Michelle Dennedy of the online security company McAfee, which commissioned the poll of 1,173 young people aged 10 to 23 years old and 1,301 parents.

The threats to children of unsupervised use of the Internet are well known and range from identity theft, cyberbullying and sharing photos and videos to pornography and sexual predators.

But despite the dangers, 82 percent of preteens say they think social media sites are very safe, or somewhat safe, and 79 percent of parents agree.

Nearly half of youngsters also report sharing personal information online such as their email address, and 28 percent have revealed the school they attend.

Many parents are also unaware of the time their children spend online. The poll showed 52 percent of youngsters spending five or more hours a day online but most parents think they spend only one to two hours.

Dennedy said many parents are overwhelmed by the onslaught of technology available to their children and feel like they can't keep up with their tech-savvy children.   Continued...

 
An illustration picture shows the log-on icon for the Website Facebook and Twitter on an Ipad in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau