25 Percent Of 8-to-12 Year Old Kids Flout Rules, Join Social Networks

Ofcom has published its annual Children's Media Literacy Audit for 2009 that highlights the fact that one in four kids in the UK between the age of eight to 12 years old have a profile on social networking websites.

This means that tens of thousands of children are breaching the terms and conditions of sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Myspace where the lowest minimum age for membership is 13.

The figures are up by 15 percent from last year which means that both the authorities and the social network haven't been able to tackle this growing issue. What's even more worrying is the fact that one in six of these accounts can be seen by people other than their friends.

A similar proportion of parents are not even aware that their children have a profile on a social network but those who do predominantly say that they check what their child is doing, possibly by joining the social networking site and asking to "friend" them.

The document comes after a slew of recent reports that have caused prejudice to the reputation of social networking websites.

One teenager was murdered by someone she met on Facebook while there has been a string of cases of young people fleeing their homes to get in touch with "friends" made on these sites.

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It will become increasingly difficult for parents to monitor what their child are doing because Facebook and the likes are now coming to smartphones. The survey which was carried out on more than 2000 children found out that 30 percent of 12 to 15 year olds had PCs in their bedrooms.

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1 in 4 kids aged 8-12 on Facebook despite age restrictions

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Underage kids allowed to sign up to social networks

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Eight-year olds with Facebook pages

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Under 12s using Facebook despite age limits

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Quarter of eight-to-12-year-olds on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo

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