Minors on social media: 25% of children aged 7 to 9 are already on TikTok.

According to the latest report from Qustodio, Spain is the country where Instagram is most commonly used at an early age; 65% of children between 13 and 15 years old are already present on this social network. Young people live in an increasingly digitized era where social media is an integral part of their lives; however, excessive use can cause mental health problems for young people, especially at early ages when children are going through periods of change and maturation.

There is no doubt that social media is becoming a part of the social life of more and more people, especially among the younger generation. The endless content, the possibility to connect with people around the world, and to see what people around you are doing are attractive features that make social media a space for discovery.

However, although some apps have age restrictions, children bypass these limitations by creating accounts at increasingly younger ages, which is a concern for many families. According to a report by Qustodio, a leading platform in online security and digital well-being for families, almost one in four children between 7 and 9 years old in Spain have TikTok, where they spend almost an hour and a half a day. Additionally, one in five access X (Twitter).

In addition, Spain is the country where Instagram is most commonly used at an early age; 65% of children between 13 and 15 years old already access this social network, while in countries like the United States or Australia, this app is not among the most used.

Young people live in an increasingly digitized era where social media is an integral part of their lives; however, excessive use can cause mental health problems for young people, especially at early ages when children are going through periods of change and maturation. Taking care of the mental health of young children is essential, as according to data provided by Unicef, one in seven teenagers has a diagnosed mental health problem.

Currently, society is at a point where digital safety for children is a priority. The Spanish government wants to implement an app to prevent minors from consuming pornography on the internet, a delicate measure that raises certain doubts about its implementation and its effects.

Furthermore, monitoring the content that children access is also a responsibility of families, who must be aware of how their children use technological devices and openly talk to them about the dangers and use of age-appropriate apps.

What dangers does early access to social media pose? Qustodio experts emphasize that early use of social media can expose minors to negative effects such as:

– Bullying: Social media has become a space where many people express their feelings of hostility and rejection towards others. Anonymity, lack of boundaries, and no consequences facilitate these behaviors, and many young people can become victims of them.

– Dependence: Access to continuous content and the need to know what is happening around them can lead to addiction. In fact, the Spanish Data Protection Agency has presented a report confirming that social media, video games, etc. have an addictive nature, which can affect the mental integrity of children.

– Comparison: Usually, the content shared on social media is not authentic. The need to constantly analyze each post for fear of judgment leads to comparison. Constant exposure and seeing other people can make it inevitable for children to compare themselves, which can bring personal problems as they try to imitate what they see on the screen.

Emily Lawrenson, Communications Manager at Qustodio, emphasizes that “at early ages, families must be careful about the use of technological devices, as children are not yet aware of the effects they can have on them. We are seeing that they are accessing social media at younger ages, exposing them to many risks at ages when they are still maturing and are not aware of the effects it can have on them. Therefore, families, the government, and major tech companies must make an effort to provide healthy and appropriate digital education for their children.”

Source: MiMub in Spanish

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