Social Media Roundup: Users Young, Drunk and Banned at WorkBy: Josh Wolford - May 12, 2011
A handful of reports have emerged that share some interesting things about social media, both in the U.S. and the UK. Among the general findings: millions of Facebook users under the minimum age, there may be a link between social media use and teen drinking and employers in Britain really don’t like Facebook and Twitter.
Young (really young) kids on Facebook
Although Facebook’s terms of service stipulate that users must be at least 13 years old, that hasn’t stopped many young’ns from creating a profile.
In kids-will-lie and other shocking news, 7.5 million children aged 13 and under have Facebook accounts. Of the 20 million minors (17-) on Facebook, 5 million are 10 or younger.
This comes from a study in the June issue of Consumer Reports. These findings mirror another recent study by McAfee that showed that 37% of 10-12-year-olds are on Facebook. The Consumer Reports study also notes that one million children were subject to harassment, threats and other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook.
The obvious question here is where the hell are the parents? Although kids are pretty crafty, limiting the internet use of a 10-year-old shouldn’t be too tricky. Consumer Reports attempts to answer that question:
Parents of kids 10 and younger on Facebook seem to be largely unconcerned. Only 18 percent made their child a Facebook friend, which is the best way to monitor the child. By comparison, 62 percent of parents of 13- to 14-year-olds did so. Only 10 percent of parents of kids 10 and under had frank talks about appropriate online behavior and threats.
So just remember – before you friend that random person and then call them a “f%@#ing n00b” for some comment they make, there is a strong likelihood that they are, in fact, 9.
Teen Drinking Linked to Social Networking?
Not only are those crazy kids lying about their age, but they’re also boozing it up whilst they do it.
According to an anonymous survey authored by Weill Cornell Medical College, teens who reported drinking also reported spending more hours per week on the computer – not for school but for social networking. Drinking was linked to frequent time on social media sites and to downloading music.
“While the specific factors linking teenage drinking and computer use are not yet established, it seems likely that adolescents are experimenting with drinking and activities on the Internet. In turn, exposure to online material such as alcohol advertising or alcohol-using peers on social networking sites could reinforce teens’ drinking,” says Dr. Epstein, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Children are being exposed to computers and the Internet at younger ages. For this reason it’s important that parents are actively involved in monitoring their children’s computer usage, as well as alcohol use.
Companies in the UK crack down on Social Media
A study in Britain has found that 48% of companies have banned workers from tweeting or posting on Facebook in the last year. This is based on research by HCL technologies and is reported on by the Telegraph
Some feel that while social media sites can, naturally, cause a distraction to workers who use them too much, banning the services outright can hamper creativity and productivity. They suggest that stipulating strong guidelines for social media use is a better tactic than banning it altogether.
Vineet Nayar, HCL Technologies’ chief executive, said: “It is quite remarkable that in this day and age, many employers are still putting their employees’ interests as a low priority by not allowing them to use sites like Facebook.
“Banning them outright will impact employees’ approach to work in a negative way, having a detrimental effect on the business as a whole.”
Of course, my job dictates that I spend time on social media sites. But how do you feel about this issue? Does banning social media hamper productivity? Or is it too much of a distraction risk tha…………