How Young Is Too Young For Facebook?

Education Technology | by | 12th Nov 2015

Child on laptop with yellow background

Nowadays, it’s normal for children to have social media accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and everything else – but how young is too young? And are they safe online?

We were asked at a recent event what the minimum age for using Facebook is, so we thought we’d write a short article on that very topic (by the by, if you have an idea for an article you’d like to see on FamilyPoint, or if you fancy writing one yourself, please get in touch).

Many social media networks set a minimum age of 13-years-old to use them. However research has shown that many children use such websites and apps below this age. Some parents allow their children to use these sites, whilst others are unaware. What is important is that you have a discussion around social media and being safe online with them. You can also encourage them to talk to Meic, the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for 0-25s in Wales.

CEOP, NSPCC and Child Internet Safety all have excellent information on staying safe online. Even if you don’t know your LINE from your Snapchat, a lot of lessons around responsible behaviour, only communicating with people you know and not taking inappropriate pictures will still be relevant when the next app sweeps the playground.

But for now check out this infographic on the current minimum ages courtesy of Linneyville:

Social Media Age Restrictions (listed below)

To recap, the minimum ages of social media sites are…

  • Min age of 13 = Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Kik, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Secret, LINE, Google+
  • Min age of 14 = LinkedIn
  • Min age of 16 = WhatsApp
  • Min age of 17 = Vine, Tinder and Yik Yak
  • Min age of 18 (or 13 with parent’s permission) = YouTube, WeChat, Kik

Most usually state minimum age in their Privacy Policy. This is also where you’ll usually see links to report underage users on there but here’s where to report on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You’ll have to email Snapchat on to have an account deleted.

If you do go ahead with closing an account and if your child can’t bear being away from social media, there are several sites that offer child-friendly alternatives with parental supervision, so investigate Club PenguinWebKinz, or Whyville.

See Also: YouTube Kids App: Programmes Or Adverts?

If you’d like to know more about the services and facilities available to you and your family in your area, talk to your local Family Information Service.

Image Credits: Linneyville and crimfants via Compfight cc

Want more online safety advice? Check out these previous articles:

FamilyPoint Cymru has a helpline if you need info or advice on family matters (including online safety for children) in Wales.

  • Phone: 0300 222 57 57
  • Text – 07860 052 905
  • Instant message (see top of page)

We are open 6pm-10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.

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