A majority of 10 to 12-year-olds use social media despite being below the age limit to have an account, a survey has revealed.
Social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat require account holders to be at least 13 years-old.
But a survey by the BBC’s news programme for children, Newsround, found that more than three-quarters of younger children at primary-leaving age were using at least one social media network.
For 13 to 18-year-olds, 96 percent used social media networks. The most popular site for the under 13-year-olds was Facebook, which 49 percent said they used. Instagram was also popular, with 41 percent of the youngsters saying they used the photo sharing site. A spokesman for Instagram said they prioritised community safety.
The findings, which mark Safer Internet Day, come as another report showed one in four teenagers suffered hate abuse online in the last year. A survey of 13 to 18-year-olds found 24 percent reported that they weretargeted on the internet because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability or transgender identity.
Researchers at the UK Safer Internet Centre defined online hate as behaviour targeting people or communities via the internet because of their gender, transgender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said the internet industry has a duty to keep young people safe. "Socialising online is central to children and young people's lives today, so it's very worrying that so many are witnessing or experiencing online hate," he said.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "The internet is a powerful tool which can have brilliant and virtually limitless benefits, but it must be used sensibly and safely. "We are working hard to make the web a safer place for children but we can't do it alone and parents have a vital role to play in educating young people."
Source: The Telegraph