With many young children and adults accessing social media and surfing the Internet, they are more likely to be exposed to adult content at an earlier age. Many social media apps and websites have installed age restrictions and parental controls. Despite the age restrictions and parental controls, some parents or even the child enters a false birthdate to set up an account for the child to have greater access to the app or website.
In this article from the World Economic Forum, setting up accounts with false birthdates is actually considered harmful to children. For example, setting up an account for an eight-year-old by entering a birthdate to make them 13 years old online can be harmful. Many accounts require a child to be at least 13 years of age and have controls that are able to limit most of the content for teenagers. However, once the child actually turns thirteen, their online user age becomes eighteen. Thus, this exposes the child to adult content that may be inappropriate and graphic as well as increasing the risk of being more susceptible to criminal behaviors, such as online grooming. This article emphasizes the importance of helping parents understand why it is best to restrict social media usage and follow age restriction policies to protect children’s safety while online.
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