Kids are begging their parents for social media accounts at younger and younger ages, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid this conversation with them. Whether or not you think kids should have social media at all (we’re not big fans of it ourselves), you can’t escape the fact that many children do have social media accounts.
Three-Year-Olds on Social Media
Yep, you read that right. A recent Statista article highlighted a 2021 study by Ofcom, a communications regulator in the UK. The study found that 25 percent of three-year-old children in the UK have some kind of social media account, and the numbers only go up with age. By age 12, 80 percent of kids have at least one social media profile.
YouTube and TikTok were the most used social media platforms for ages 3 to 17. Some of these children even created accounts without their parents’ knowledge. Many social media platforms have an age requirement of 13, but with no real age verification, this age requirement is easy to sneak around.
The Risks of Social Media
We’ve talked extensively about the dangers of social media, and in an ideal world, kids wouldn’t be exposed to it at all. But as we mentioned before that simply is not the case, and most kids will have a social media account by the time they’re a teen.
Another Statista article shares the scary statistics of mental health issues associated with social media. People ages 14 to 24 self-reported the effects of different social media platforms on their mental health, including feelings of loneliness, depression, harassment, and other detrimental effects. Instagram had the worst effects out of any platform.
How to Keep Kids Safe
So what’s a parent to do? If social media is everywhere and it’s hurting kids, how can parents keep their kids safe? At Troomi, we strongly believe in keeping kids safe by introducing them to tech gradually and with close parental involvement, and the same goes for social media. For a start, you won’t find social media on Troomi phones at all.
Besides the safety features of our phones, we help parents develop relationships of trust and openness with their kids when it comes to technology. Our hope is that children will learn—from their parents—the dangers to look out for and that they’ll feel comfortable coming to them if they run into trouble. With these strong parent-child relationships and the guardrails provided by Troomi phones, kids can stay safe with tech, whether or not they decide with their parents to venture onto social media.