Infectious Disease

According to survey results, 32% of US children ages 7 to 9 use social media

October 27, 2021

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About a third of children ages 7 to 9 and nearly half of children ages 10 to 12 use social media apps, parents reported in the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Although some doctors have found that social media reduces patient stress, other studies are less optimistic about adolescents and children’s use of the services.

About a third of children ages 7 to 9 and almost half of children ages 10 to 12 use social media apps, parents reported to the Mott survey.

“There is ongoing debate about how early it is to early when it comes to using social apps and how parents should oversee it.” Sarah Clark, MPH, Co-director of the Mott survey said in a press release. “Our survey examines how often tweens and younger children use social platforms and how closely parents monitor these interactions.”

The survey results were based on the responses of 1,030 parents with at least one child aged 7 to 12 who described different rates of use of apps for older and younger children.

Parents reported that 49% of children ages 10-12 used social media apps in the past 6 months, 28% educational apps, and only and 23% no apps. Of the children aged 7 to 9, 32% used social media apps, 50% only educational apps and 18% no apps, the parents reported. Just over a third of parents (35%) said their child was taught how to use social media apps safely in school, and these parents were more likely to say their child used social media apps.

Three out of five parents responded that they require their child’s parental consent for new contacts in social media apps.

One in five parents surveyed said they could not find any information about setting up parental controls, and a third thought the controls were “a waste of time” as children often found ways around them. Two in five said that monitoring their children’s use of social media was too time consuming.

“When parents allow younger children to engage in social media, they should take responsibility for making the child’s online environment as safe as possible,” said Clark. “If parents cannot commit to taking an active role in their child’s use of social media, they should keep their child waiting to use these apps.”

Clark advised parents to discuss identifying credible sources and altered images and videos, stressing the importance of parents remaining vigilant about their children’s use of the apps.

“Parents should guide their children through both parental controls and regular conversations with their children on how to use social media apps safely to teach them online safety rules,” said Clark. “It is especially important for young children who are new to these apps that their parents pay attention to the content they are interacting with and who they are talking to. Parents should also make it clear that they plan to monitor their children’s profiles, posts, and interactions on social media until they are older. “

Reference:

National survey: 1/3 of children aged 7-9 use social media apps. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/931448. Published October 18, 2021. Accessed October 21, 2021.

Noll JG et al. Nat human behavior. 2021; doi: 10.1038 / s41562-021-01187-5.

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