No surprise: kids age 6-12, who are in the process of expanding their social circles outside of their families, are interested in (and often active on) online social media, according to Donna Sabino of Ipsos, reporting on Ipsos MediaCT's syndicated LMX Family Study data.

The study measures adoption of and adaptation to new media and technology by kids and parents.

Even though most social networking sites don't allow members under age 13, most kids do have access to a host of Internet-enabled devices, including the following, Ipsos reports:

Below, additional findings from Ipsos's LMX Family Study.

Some 42% of kids age 6-12 have used those devices have visited a social network site, and 71% of those kids—or 29% of kids age 6-12—have an account on a social network site.

Not surprisingly, the oldest kids are more likely than the youngest ones to have a social networking profile.

  • Among all kids, Facebook is by far the most popular social network, followed by Twitter and Google+.

  • Girls are more apt to use Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace than are boys; boys are more apt to use Google+ than are girls.
  • Some 20% of kids who own a mobile device (e.g., smartphone and iPad) have a social network app on those devices.

Kids' Activities on Social Networks

Nearly three-quarters of kids who have a profile on a social site visit that site daily, and four out of ten visit at least twice a day.

"Judging from the other activities on kids' social network list, the motivators and behaviors associated with this stage of development remain constant across generations (communicating likes and dislikes, sharing pictures, listening to music, etc.). What have changed dramatically are the means through which kids are able to share, play and connect with one another," Sabino writes.

Seeing what other people are writing is the top kids' social network activity, followed by playing games (male and female at similar rates):

  • See what others are writing: 58%
  • Play games: 57%
  • Like things: 54%
  • Post updates: 43%
  • Post pictures: 39%
  • Email: 27%
  • Find video, music, reading material: 24%
  • Answer quizzes, fun questions: 20%
  • Share video or music link: 19%
  • Share a link: 16%


Some eight out of ten parents of kids who have a social networking profile follow their kids' activities by being social network "friends" with their children. Many do so in part to mitigate any negative aspects of social networking, Ipsos found. The vast majority monitor the privacy settings on their kids' accounts.

More than half of parents agree that the social networking sites' level of access to user information makes them potentially dangerous. They nevertheless allow access because they tend to recognize the new role that social networks play in the socialization of children today, according to Ipsos.

About half of parents say social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are fads and will be replaced with some other online phenomenon.

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