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Social media giants are letting children aged 11 and 12 sign up for profiles despite a supposed ban on those under 13.Parents are not widely aware of the minimum age guidelines for popular social media platforms.Social media makes it possible for users to conveniently stay in touch with friends and family who are far away. It also enables one to connect with like minded.
A study conducted at primary schools revealed that most children from the 5th to the 7th grade have WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
One in ten children aged between 12 and 15 have even shared live videos of themselves on social media. Some platforms, including Instagram Live, allow them to broadcast to strangers. Most of the children that we spoke to had much knowledge about the protests which were happening in Harare and they got to know about them through WhatsApp and Facebook.
Children are said to be getting news from social media. A grade 6 pupil student interviewed by Techunzipped said “my dad was at the march, he sent me a video on WhatsApp and I saw them making history, he posted some pictures with soldiers on Instagram” many other kids in his class narrated what they saw on Facebook and WhatsApp. Children are said to be getting news from social media.
Most parents in Zimbabwe are unaware of the age Limit in social media and social media networks seem to ignore the fact that kids under the age of 13 are signing up for their services.
Children are not fully protected on social media as they are prone to cyberbullying. They are exposed to a lot of things including other cybercrimes.
Facebook has highlighted that they have enforced their pre-teen ban.
Facebook: requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). Creating an account with false info is a violation of their terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13.
Instagram: requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.
Twitter: you must be at least 13 years old to use the services.