Source:

Mott Poll Report. Sharing too soon? Children and social media apps. https://mottpoll.org/reports/sharing-too-soon-children-and-social-media-apps. Accessed Oct. 21, 2021.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
October 27, 2021
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32% of US children aged 7 to 9 years use social media, poll finds

Source:

Mott Poll Report. Sharing too soon? Children and social media apps. https://mottpoll.org/reports/sharing-too-soon-children-and-social-media-apps. Accessed Oct. 21, 2021.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Approximately one-third of children aged 7 to 9 years and almost half of children aged 10 to 12 years use social media apps, parents reported in the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Although some physicians have found that social media relieves patient stress, other studies are less optimistic when it comes to adolescents and children using the services.

Approximately one-third of children aged 7 to 9 years and almost half of children aged 10 to 12 years use social media apps, parents reported to the Mott poll.

“There continues to be debate over how soon is too soon when it comes to using social apps and how parents should oversee it,” Sarah Clark, MPH, co-director of the Mott poll, said in a news release. “Our poll looks at how often tweens and younger children use social platforms and how closely parents are monitoring these interactions.”

Poll results were based on responses from 1,030 parents with at least one child aged 7 to 12, who described different rates of use of apps for older and younger children.

Parents reported that 49% of children aged 10 to 12 years used social media apps in the past 6 months, 28% used educational apps and only and 23% did not use apps. Among children aged 7 to 9 years, 32% used social media apps, 50% used educational apps only and 18% used no apps, parents reported. Just more than a third of parents (35%) said their child was taught in school about safe use of social media apps, and these parents were more likely to say their child uses social media apps.

Three of five parents responded that they required their child to get parental approval for new contacts on social media apps.

One in five of the surveyed parents said they could not find information on how to set up parental controls, and a third thought the controls were “a waste of time” because children would often find ways around them. Two in five said that monitoring their children’s use of social media was too time-consuming.

“If parents are allowing younger children to engage in social media, they should take responsibility for making the child’s online environment as safe as possible,” Clark said. “If parents can’t commit to taking an active role in their child’s social media use, they should have their child wait to use these apps.”

Clark recommended that parents discuss identifying credible sources and altered images and videos and stressed the importance of parents staying vigilant about their children’s use of the apps.

“Parents should be guiding children toward safe use of social media apps through both parental controls and having regular conversations with their kids to teach them online safety rules,” Clark said. “For young kids who are using these apps for the first time, it’s especially important for their parents to stay vigilant about content they’re engaging with and who they’re talking to. Parents should also be transparent that they plan to monitor their child’s profiles, posts and interactions on social media until they’re older.”

Reference:

National Poll: 1/3 of children ages 7-9 use social media apps. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/931448. Published Oct. 18, 2021. Accessed Oct. 21, 2021.

Noll JG, et al. Nat Human Behav. 2021;doi:10.1038/s41562-021-01187-5.