38% of Indian 10-year-olds have Facebook accounts, 24% Instagram in violation of rules, finds NCPCR study  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
According to Facebook and Instagram, minimum age to use the platforms is 13 years
Survey of 3400 Indian schoolchildren found almost 43% had social media accounts
Facebook (36.8%) and Instagram (45.50%) seem to be the most popular networking sites with underage users aged between 8-17 years of age.
A study commissioned by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) found that 37.8% of children aged 10 years have a Facebook account while 24.3% have an Instagram account. This is in violation of norms laid down by social media platforms, the apex child rights body found. The minimum age for setting up a Facebook or Instagram account is 13 years.
The survey of over 3400 schoolchildren between 10-17 years of age revealed that 42.9% had a social media account.
“Social media platforms contain and disperse such a variety of content, a lot of which is neither appropriate nor conducive for children. They can be anything from violent or vulgar content to instances of online abuse or bullying of children. Hence, in this regard, proper oversight and stricter enforcement is required,” according to an excerpt from the study.
Facebook, used by 36.8% and Instagram with 45.50% of overall social accounts used by children seem to be the most popular networking sites with underage users.
In another concerning development, ‘chatting’ was found to be the most popular feature among children, at 52.8%, who were found to use social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
The study factored in responses from 5,811 participants consisting of 3,491 schoolchildren, 1,534 parents and 786 teachers from 60 schools, across six states in India.
The data also showed that most children —62.6%— accessed social media through their parents’ devices.
“It is also interesting to note that 30.2 per cent of the children of age groups (8 to 18 years) possess their own smartphones and use them for all purposes,” the study said.
It said 94.8% children used smartphones or devices for ‘Online learning and classes’ which was found to be the most popular activity followed by messaging at 40%, referring study material at 31%, while music and games constituted 31.30% and 20.80% of total usage respectively.
Among student respondents, 50.9% were boys and 49.1% were girls between 12-17 years age group which was most represented.
“About 13 per cent children ‘always’ use smartphones while studying, 23.30 per cent ‘frequently’ use them, 30.10 per cent ‘seldom’ use them and only 32.7 per cent of children ‘never check their smartphones while studying’.
“Approximately, 37.15 per cent of children, always or frequently, experience reduced levels of concentration due to smartphone use,” the study said.