U.K. Kids Start Social Networking Way Under the Age Limit

facebook kid

A survey of kids in the U.K. has found that a quarter of them have a presence on a social network—way below the age limit of 13. As well as proving the theory that if you want to figure out your tech problems, go ask a tweenager, last year's Children's Media Literacy Audit from government watchdog Ofcom threw up some interesting gems. Let's check out the stats.

  • 25% of the children surveyed admitted that they had a profile on either MySpace, Bebo, or Facebook.
  • 90% of their parents oversaw their kids' Internet activity (or so they said).
  • 17% of the kids' parents were unaware of their offsprings' social media presence.
  • 44% of kids thought that illegal downloading shouldn't be illegal (yay!).
  • 37% of 5- to 7-year-olds had visited Facebook.
  • 18% of 8- to 11-year-olds visit blogs and sites such as Wikipedia, with a high rate of believing all they read.
  • 48% of 12- to 15-year-olds visit the same websites, with only 48% believing the information.

This is great news for social marketeers, for starters—although it's probably nothing they hadn't already guessed, otherwise, how do you explain so many of the, frankly, puerile apps for Facebook?

It's not great news for the music and film companies or any of the governments who are pushing for a three-strikes policy on piracy. What is to be remembered, however, is that people's attitudes on illegal downloading of content change as they grow older. It's called growing up.

It's doubtful this news will force the social media sites to make their criteria for starting a profile more difficult. Despite some British media outlets' attempts to turn Facebook into the online equivalent of Osama Bin Laden's sweaty armpit—It causes syphilis! It turns you into a sad and lonely husk of a person! Look, little person, there's a pedophile hiding in the bushes next to your computer monitor!—it's not going to go away. If anything, it's going to give Facebook an even greater influence in the world. How does that Jesuit motto go again? Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man. Parents, just be thankful it's not ChatRoulette.

[Image Via Flickr]

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