Shock survey reveals 1.6million children have lied about their age to create social media account
- The Advertising Standards Authority found that children are signing up for social media at increasingly young ages
- More than 3.6million profiles owned by young people carried false ages
- Children were exposed to almost two-thirds more age-restricted ads
Tech giants allowed an estimated 1.6million children to create social media accounts by pretending to be aged 18 or over when signing up, a survey has revealed.
The Advertising Standards Authority, which commissioned the survey, warned that of the 93 per cent of children aged 11 to 17 who claim to have a social media account, a staggering 24 per cent admitted to misreporting their age.
And at least 11 per cent of the accounts are registered by children falsely claiming they are 18 or over.
It means more than 3.6million profiles owned by young people carried false ages.
The study found that children are signing up for social media at increasingly young ages. Among 11 to 12-year-olds, 67 per cent of profiles were set up before secondary school.
The Advertising Standards Authority warned that of the 93 per cent of children aged 11 to 17 who claim to have a social media account, a staggering 24 per cent admitted to misreporting their age
‘This study is the latest example of how we’re developing new tools and methodologies to gain a real, up-to-date understanding of the ads young people are seeing on websites, social platforms and apps,’ ASA director Guy Parker said.
‘With many children registering on social media with a false age, it’s vital that marketers of age-restricted ads consider their choice of media, use multiple, layered data to target their ads away from young people and monitor the performance of their campaigns. Targeting solely on the basis of age data is unlikely to be enough.’
The findings are part of the ASAs 100 Children Report which directly monitors children’s use of their personal devices.
The watchdog also surveyed 1,000 children about the platforms they have accounts with and directly monitored the smartphones and tablets of 97 children across the UK.
Of the 11,424 ads seen by the children, just 435 were age-restricted. By misreporting their age, children were exposed to almost two-thirds more age-restricted ads than those who set up their profiles accurately.
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