Survey: 7.5M Facebook users under 13 years

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You hand over your mobile to your kids? You know where they are on the web? You know what their favorite social network is? Could it be Facebook? Oh, yes it could…

The magazine Consumer Reports states in a research that 7.5 million Facebook users are under the asge of 13 and finds that 38% of 9-12 year-olds are on Social Networks. Did you know that this violates the social network site’s terms? Did you know that this could expose your family to malware attacks and identity theft?

The Consumer Reports‘ study „Social Networking, Age and Privacy“ conducted earlier this year, surveyed 2,089 households that are going online. The respondents of the study admitted that almost one third had computers infected with malware and viruses in the last 12 months. Based on the findings, the study projects that computers spent $2.3 billion fighting online viruses. It estimates that more than one million computers had to be replaced as of malicious code.

Many responding parents seemed unconcerned that children were on Facebook. No surprise. Probably most of them have no idea what happens on Facebook, or even what it is, and that their kids are not allowed to join under the age of 13 years. Obviously, these younger kids have no clue about the danger that they are causing by not thinking about which malware-loaded links they are clicking and how they could damage the computer.

Consumer Reports gives parents really interesting and good advice…
– Using passwords or PIN’s if they store data on cell or smart phones. Especially smartphones offer instructions for setting PINs or passwords under the settings or security options
– Reporting and Booting kids under 13 off Facebook or reporting underage users to the site
– Monitoring their teenagers‘ activities online
– Making full use of privacy settings, especially for teens.
– Being careful about downloading apps for phones and Facebook, and online, protecting Facebook information from friends‘ apps

Spot On!
Most of parents have their sensitive data unprotected on their smartphones or their notebooks. And as I have experienced myself, I often stay logged in my favorite social networks on my smartphone and hand over to my big boy without thinking what he is doing. I often find comments and ratings on YouTube about Star Wars then…

Reading this study, I will definitely pay more attention to what my sons are doing on Social Networks, especially on YouTube which is kids favorite social network when they are watching scenes from films, or a trailer for the latest movie to come. So my advice would be… Watch out when you hand over the mobile to your kids. And especially if they have brothers and sisters that are older and already members of Facebook…

Do you expect the number to be bigger? Do you hand over your mobile without knowing where your kids go to? Should Facebook give access to kids of 10, or even under the age of 10 years? Interested in how you see the future of kids joining social networks…

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