NEARLY 1 IN 6 TIKTOK USERS IS UNDER 5: OFCOM
Almost 1 in 6 TikTok users is under the age of 5, according to research by Ofcom, despite under-13s not being allowed on to the platform according to its rules.
The app was used by half of children aged 3-17, according to the research, making the app the third most popular among children.
The findings are part of Ofcom’s 2022 report into media use and attitudes by children and parents.
The report also found that 16% of 8-17s chatted to people they didn’t know, via the messaging functions in games, and only a third of children knew how to use online reporting or flagging functions.
9 in 10 parents were aware of at least one tool to manage their children’s access to content, though only 7 in 10 said they had used any of them.
Only about a quarter of parents used content filtering tools offered by their broadband provider, to restrict online access for their children, according to the report.
Of those who were aware of but did not use their broadband’s content filtering services, almost half said it was because “they trusted their child to be sensible or responsible when online.”
TEEN SOCIAL MEDIA USE ASSOCIATED WITH LESS LIFE SATISFACTION
Teens who spend more time on social media are less likely to report life satisfaction a year later, according to a new report.
The study of over 17,000 participants published in Nature Communications, found that a correlation between social media usage and less life satisfaction was most likely for boys aged 14-15 and girls aged 11-13.
According to the report, the findings suggest that the relative differences in developmental changes in puberty between boys and girls could help explain differences in sensitivity towards social media, with females experiencing bodily changes sooner than males.
The report comes amid increasing scrutiny of social media companies and the extent to which their platforms could cause harm to teenage users.
“An understanding of what neurodevelopmental, pubertal, cognitive, and social changes underlie developmental windows of sensitivity to social media, and how these are impacted by individual differences, could pave pathways for targeted interventions that address the negative consequences of social media while also promoting its positive uses,” according to the research.
“This will ultimately enable academic research to help inform critical policies, interventions, and conversations concerning adolescent well-being in the digital age.”
CHARITIES CALL FOR PORN AGE VERIFICATION
A coalition of campaign groups led by children’s charity Barnardo’s has called for an urgent implementation of age verification on porn websites.
In an open letter to pornography sites, the group said the damage being done to children means changes to verification had to happen before the implementation of the Online Safety Bill, which could take as much as three years to be fully implemented.
Barnardo’s said it has already begun devoting resources to helping children who had been exposed to extreme material.
It comes as YouGov research found 75% of parents and guardians felt that extreme pornography should be illegal online.
“Viewing pornography can be extremely damaging to children’s perception of healthy relationships,” said Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO.
“Now the onus is on commercial pornography companies to get ahead of the curve and agree to introduce age verification on their sites as soon as possible rather than waiting for legislation to come into place which will force them to.”
CADBURY WARNS AGAINST ONLINE CHOCOLATE SCAM
Chocolate maker Cadbury has warned customers about an online scam promising to give out free chocolate in exchange for sharing personal details.
The scam, which is being sent over WhatsApp and Facebook, instructs users to click on a link to a fraudulent website where they will receive a free chocolate hamper after sharing their details.
Cadbury has encouraged users not to engage with the posts.
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