Half of children using Facebook “every day”

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Almost one million children access Facebook "every day" (picture by San Jose Library)

ALMOST a million children use Facebook “every day”, according to research.

The seven to 12 year olds are using the social network despite site rules restricting access to those over the age of 13.

In a new report looking at British children in 2011, figures show 46% of children who are social-networkers use it ‘some days’- leaving just 5% who claim to ‘never’ use it. Everyday usage on Facebook is most common with girls aged 10-12 (54%), whilst boys are more likely to be less frequent users as less than half (47%) visit the site with the same frequency.

The next most popular social networks are Twitter and Club Penguin, however the frequency of visits is much lower with only 9% of children who use social networks visiting every day.

Peer pressure

And it seems peer pressure is a key motivating force for using a particular social network; nearly two thirds (63%) of 7-12-year-olds using social networks, belong to a network because their friends do, with older children (67%) and in particular girls aged 10-12 (71%) the most likely to follow the crowd.

Even though most of the social networking activities are done on the computer (54%), a significant minority of children (11%) are using their mobile phones to do most of their social networking, with boys aged 7-9 being the most likely to do so (15%) and girls aged 10-12 following closely (13%).

Ina Mitskavets, Senior Lifestyles Analyst at market research company Mintel, said: “Being the digital natives, today’s children are well versed in all aspects of technology and the internet, with almost a million of children aged 7-12 use Facebook on a daily basis, highlighting just how popular the site has become amongst children.

“Perhaps, joining Facebook is viewed as a rite of passage into secondary school and an absolute must-have for entering the social scene and maintaining social circles. Friends’ acceptance is an important factor driving social network adoption, but peer influence is also essential in new product discovery, especially for games, electronic gadgets, music and films.”

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