Social media is becoming increasingly popular with youths, with a new survey finding that children as young as eight have social media accounts.

 

The study which was conducted by CyberSafeIreland found that 67 percent of children aged between 8 and 13 own a smartphone.

 

They revealed that adolescents are now spending more than two hours of their day online, this includes using Snapchat, posting photos to Instagram and talking to their friends on Facebook.

 

A concerning number of the youths admitted to having their own social media accounts, with 69 percent of children stating that they have accounts on apps including Twitter and Snapchat.

 

 

This figure is worrying as many websites state that you must be over the age of 13 to become a member.

 

Snapchat and Instagram also state that their members must be over the age of 13, and WhatsApp is restricted to those over the age of 16, however, many youths are lying about their date of birth, so they can join these social media apps.

 

CyberSafeIreland has discovered that children in primary school are now accessing social media, with 49 percent of third class pupils admitting to having accounts online.

 

 

A shocking 94 percent of students who are in their first year of the secondary school stated that they have a social media presence.

 

These figures are a grave concern to both parents and teachers because the youths are not fully aware of the dangers of social media.

 

CyberSafeIreland hope these figures will encourage parents to talk to their children about internet safety, as 22 percent of the youths revealed that they speak to strangers online.

 

Alex Cooney, who is the CEO of CyberSafeIreland has suggested that parents supervise their children when they are using the internet.

 

 

“Children are exposed to a variety of risks online, as has been highlighted in recent press coverage surrounding some very disturbing cases.”

 

She added, “We urgently need a National Parents Campaign to provide guidance and support to parents and to create social norms around safe online use."

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