Parents have become increasingly concerned with the effects that social media can have on their child. Following the results of a 2019 study published in the Telegraph, which discovered that 12 to 15-year-olds who heavily used social media were more likely to report issues such as depression, anxiety and anti-social behaviour, OnBuy were eager to find out parents' social media concerns in 2020. We conducted a study to discover just how concerned parents are with social media - specifically, music-based video app, TikTok.
What Are Parents' Biggest Concerns On Social Media In 2020?
Monitoring your child's social media usage can be difficult - even for the most tech-savvy parents - and with new technology evolving every day it has become especially challenging.
After surveying 1,862 parents of under-17's who frequently use social media, OnBuy discovered that TikTok worries parents the most, with 84% concerned about their child's habits on the platform. Other apps that worry parents include Instagram (81%), YouTube (55%) and Snapchat (54%).
A huge 89% of parents fear for their child's safety online and almost 2 in 5 admit that they find it difficult to monitor their child's screen time. Despite this, 67% of parents allow their child to take their mobile phone to bed, leaving them unsupervised and unmonitored, potentially exposing them to more dangers. Out of the concerned parents, almost 1 in 4 don't monitor their child's social media usage and a further 24% are unsure if their account is private.
Many parents worry about whether social media is safe for children, and a staggering 92% of them firmly believe that TikTok in particular must do more to make the app safer for children. In fact, only 3 in 10 parents believe that their child is safe while using the app.
Following this, OnBuy asked parents to rank their biggest fears regarding their child posting online content.They discovered that most parents worry about predators confronting their child through social media, followed by sexual exploitation and cyberbullying.
The full results are as follows:
- Sexual exploitation/Explicit content
- Dangerous viral challenges
- Dangerous propaganda
- Virtual coin payment
- Animal abuse
Recently, viral challenges have become more and more dangerous, and peer pressure often encourages children to try out the newest trends. OnBuy found that the viral ‘skull breaker' challenge is the trend concerning parents more than any other, due to the many injuries that teens have already faced as a result of the challenge. Parents were also worried about the ‘outlet challenge' and the ‘fainting/choking challenge'.
Children Using Social Media - Case Study
Sam Barnard, the worried parent of an 8-year-old girl, wanted to share her experiences with TikTok, and social media in general, among her child's peers:
"So many of my child's friends have their own phones, and we have noticed a growing interest in TikTok. We have also seen the children in class ostracising children without phones or active social media accounts and making them feel left out.
From the moment students meet their parents at the school gates at 15:15, they're handed back their phone (with some of them even owning the newest Apple iPhones) and by 15:20 they're already updating their feeds and scrolling through social media.
We looked at some of my child's peers' TikTok accounts, and we were shocked to say the least. The video that really stood out to me was one classmate who posted a video of her walking home, entering her house and then proceeded to do a house tour, all while showing her face, door number and street. It really worries me as I am aware of the dangers social media possesses among children - especially among 8 and 9-year-olds."