Phil Bradley had some interesting research material on his blog: The (UK) Ofcom Report. This report looked at 5,000 adults and 3,000 children social networking habits. It identified that more than 25% of 8-11 year old children have a profile on a social network. Although most networks have a minimum age of 13, it is rarely applied. The research identified:
More than 25% of 8-11 year olds have a profile on a social network. (The minimum age requirement of 13 is rarely enforced).
22% of 16+ year olds have an online profile.
63% of 8-17 year olds with a profile use Bebo.
37% of 8-17 year olds with a profile use MySpace.
18% of 8-17 year olds with a profile use FaceBook.
44% of young users set their privacy at ‘default’ (meaning anyone can view their information).
16% of parents do not know if their child’s profile is visible to all.
33% of parents say they set no rules for their children’s use of social networks.
41% of children say their parents set no rules for use of social networks.
Some young people reported feeling addicted to social networking.
34% of young adults (16-24) reported they were willing to give out personal information such as email address and phone number.
The research does highlight some areas for concern. If children are receiving little information from parents about how to use these sites and online tools and they cannot access them at school or they are not being used as part of their general learning (bloggs, wikis and other collaboration and sharing tools) where do they get their advice from?