Shocking statistics show that 11 year old children are using online dating sites, such as Tinder.
Statistics have come from a newly-released report by Eagle Radio (a radio station in Reading) and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
It has become apparent that more than 7,000 children have received social media legal training in the first half of the school year (from September 2016 to March 2017).
The research has found out that underage children using social media is a predominant problem in the well-known county. The data that was gathered was conducted during 81 sessions at 26 secondary schools, including state, independent and special schools.
Key findings include:
- 98% of Surrey pupils own their own smartphone during their first year of secondary school.
- Up to 85% of Year 7 students confessed to using apps restricted to age 13 and over – including Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Minecraft.
- 5% of Year 7s have admitted to using online dating apps and websites to meet people – including Tinder, for over 18s, as well as those for over 13s including Meet Me, MyLOL and Skout.
- Up to 50% of school pupils into online gaming admit they play with strangers online.
- Year 9s (13-14 year olds) are the age group most likely to use social media apps to communicate with strangers and to post content anonymously.
David Munro, Surrey PCC, tells Eagle Radio: “I’m disturbed that this a gateway to some very dangerous practices, and I believe parents, guardians and teachers also ought to be worried. They’re a great liberator, smart phones, they’re a really good thing if used appropriately. But it’s important that everybody knows the ground rules – and especially what’s actually legal.”
Mr Munro also stated that not many of the younger age group are completely unaware of the laws and ethnics around social media use, going on to tell Eagle Radio that: “No child is inherently racist – and yet racist tweets are sent, and that’s a crime – and people don’t realise it. he problem with Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram – it just takes a second to put something, thoughtlessly, in the air – and it can never be properly recalled.”
The ‘Online and Social Media Law and Ethics’ schools project has been delivered by professional youth media tutors from Eagle Radio’s Learning team and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. It is now in its fourth consecutive year of delivery across Surrey with it reaching on average 9,000 pupils each year.