What’s the Right Age to Start Using Social Media?

From Above the Noise.

Co-produced with Common Sense Education @CommonSenseEd
https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship

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**What percentage of 11 and 12 year olds have social media?
An estimated 20% of kids between 8-12 years old, are using social media — despite rules on most platforms that require users to be at least 13 to create an account.

** Why is the age limit for Social Media 13?
Congress passed a law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998 due to concerns about companies or other random people online collecting information from kids–like their name, phone number–and later photos and location–without parents’ knowledge. The law considered children a “vulnerable” group that should be protected from data mining.

**How does social media negatively affect youth?
Research shows that most kids start experimenting with sharing their own data online when they’re 11 to 13, but don’t start to understand the risks and the consequences of what they do online until they are 14 to 16. If kids are active online, they have more chances of experiencing online predators, identity theft, cyberbullying, and people accessing their personal information. Another study found that kids’ brains are still developing and highly sensitive to acceptance and rejection.

**How does social media positively affect youth?
Some research shows that social media can make young teens feel more confident and less lonely and depressed. They can use social media to find support for everything from organizing around a cause to dealing with mental illness.

SOURCES

Media use and brain development during adolescence.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03126-x

Digital Media, Participatory Politics, and Positive Youth Development.https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/Supplement_2/S127

Under-age social media use ‘on the rise’ https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42153694

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069841

Declining Loneliness Among American Teenagers
http://www.spsp.org/news-center/press-releases/declining-loneliness-among-american-teenagers

How the Parkland students got so good at social media.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/us/parkland-students-social-media.html 2018.

Why social media is not smart for middle school kids.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201703/why-social-media-is-not-smart-middle-school-kids

Online and making thousands, at age 4: Meet the Kidfluencers. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/business/media/social-media-influencers-kids.html

Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2018_cs_socialmediasociallife_fullreport-final-release_2_lowres.pdf

Developing social media literacy: how children learn to interpret risky opportunities on social network site
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/62129/1/Developing%20social%20media%20literacy.pdf

Teens, friendships and online groups. https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/11/28/teens-friendships-and-online-groups/

Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rspb.2011.1959

Developmental influences on the neural bases of responses to social rejection: Implications of social neuroscience for education. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811910012656?via%3Dihub

What kind of adults will our children become? The impact of growing up in a media-saturated world. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482798.2015.1124796?scroll=top&needAccess=true&

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