*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Social media can be a very distressing place, even for a grown adult. With that in mind, a new study finds a third of children between seven and nine years old are already using social media apps. However, a team at the University of Michigan says many of these young children are browsing social media without parental supervision.
The national poll finds two-thirds of parents are concerned about their children sharing private information through apps. Despite this, one in six parents with children on social media don’t use parental controls, while two in five say it’s “too time-consuming” to monitor their kids’ internet use.
Half of 10 to 12-year-olds and a third of those between seven and nine now use digital devices to engage with others on social media, according to the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
“There continues to be debate over how soon is too soon when it comes to using social apps and how parents should oversee it,” says Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark in a university release. “Our poll looks at how often tweens and younger children use social platforms and how closely parents are monitoring these interactions.”
The nationally representative report surveyed 1,030 parents with at least one child between ages seven and 12. Parents cited several challenges in overseeing their kids’ social media use with one in five saying they couldn’t find the information they needed to set up parental controls.
Another two in five respondents claimed it’s “too time-consuming” to monitor their youngster’s social media usage.
“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 added. “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.”