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Concerns raised about under-age social media use

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Research conducted by AgeChecked has revealed concerns about the exposure young children have to social media services and some of the content on them.

Age verification service AgeChecked surveyed 1,500 UK adults and found social media in certain areas is scarily unregulated, even to the point where children using social media could potentially access pornographic content without any form of age checking. To make matters worse many 10 year olds accessing social media even though the legal age is 13.

“For parents, monitoring their childrens’ online activity has become a near-impossible task” said Alastair Graham CEO of AgeChecked. “Social media companies have a duty of care to young people, and must ensure that those who are accessing their sites meet their minimum age requirement.

“Whilst the ever-growing market of technologies can be of great benefit to children, they also pose unprecedented risks. Appropriate measures – such as robust, integrated age verification systems – must be taken to ensure young people are protected from potentially harmful material.”

68% of parents have made the claim that their child could be talking to strangers via social networking sites, according to the research. 70% have said that their child has access to disturbing video content and, maybe the worst of all, 40% have voiced the concern that their child can visit shopping sites and buy dangerous items such as knives and alcohol without being age checked.

Studies like this will add to the increasing pressure social media companies are already under to protect their users from harm. Companies like AgeChecked may have a commercial interest in promoting the importance of making sure under-age people don’t have access to inappropriate content, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

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