Ofcom Survey shows extent of children addiction to social network sites

An Ofcom research has uncovered a worrying reality check for parents and social commentators alike: nearly half of children and teenagers aged between 8 and 17 have an online profile.

The survey of 5000 adults and 3000 children also showed that a third of parents in the survey said that they did not set any rules for their children use of social networks.

In contrast, to protect themselves from potential embarrassments, most social network websites usually set the minimum age for users to access their websites at 13 or 14; although there are no way of actually checking the real age of those registering.

The document came a week after an internet game aimed at girls aged 9 to 16, caused an outrage amongst parents and healthcare professionals when it was found that the site, Miss Bimbo, promoted extreme diets, plastic surgery and promiscuity.

It is also unfortunate that the survey did not cover even younger children as there is a definite trend amongst parents to offer laptops to their sons and daughters and some social networking websites have been known to target kids as young as six.

In related news, the Home Office is set to announce on Friday a new voluntary code of conduct for social networking websites which will see the proposal of a 999 number to improve the online safety of young users.