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How old do you have to be for Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram accounts? Social media age restrictions explained

Billions of people around the world use the products created by the social media giants

THE online world can pose many dangers for youngsters including cyber-bullying, so this explains the restrictions in place for kids wanting to use social media.

To protect children, the major social media platforms have age restrictions to prevent those underage from creating profiles.

The NSPCC advise sitting down with your kids and setting clear guidelinesCredit: Alamy

How old do you have to be to use the different social media sites?

Nearly all social networking sites only allow users aged 13 and over.

This age limit has been dictated by US law through the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The act at first ordered sites to seek "verifiable parental consent" for younger users, and then restrict how they could use data.

But subsequently many apps decided that it would not be worthwhile, the BBC reports.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to fight to change the COPPA law in 2011, but the restrictions remain in place.


More and more British kids have access to smartphones and the internetCredit: Alamy

At what age can you join Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube?

Facebook and photo-sharing site Instagram both require users to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account, and in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher.

Creating a Facebook account with false info is a violation of Facebook's terms, including accounts registered for someone under 13.

You can report under-age accounts on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

It emerged in a CBBC study that of the children under 13 using social media without permission - 49 per cent were signed up to Facebook.

Twitter, the site where users post messages and tweets in 140 characters, says you must be at least "13-years-old to use its services".

At first Snapchat, which allows people to post videos and photos for 10 seconds before they disappear, restricted anyone under the age of 13 from using their site.

It then introduced a limited version of the app for under 13s - called SnapKidz - which allows photos and drawing but not sending messages.

Users aged under 13 are redirected to Snapkidz.

The minimum age for the mobile phone messaging app WhatsApp is 16-years-old.

YouTube requires accounts holders to be aged 18 and over, and also restricts much of its content to over 18s, but it will also allow a 13-year-old to sign up with their parent's permission.

NSPCC boss Peter Wanless said the Government must draw up minimum standards for internet firms on child protectionCredit: Internet

What are the concerns of children using social media sites?

A survey for CBBC, of 1,200 people aged between 10 and 18, found that 96 per cent were signed up to social media networks.

And it found that 78 per cent of those aged interviewed under 13 had joined at least one social network despite not being old enough, reported the BBC.

The NSPCC said that some sites can be a "dangerous place for younger children, potentially exposing them to bullying, inappropriate content or grooming".

The charity found that 1,380 children - out of nearly 1,700 it surveyed - thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them and they reported seeing pornography, self-harm, bullying and hatred.

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The NSPCC wants the Government to ensure social networks follow a universal set of rules.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of NSPCC, said: "We've seen time and time again social media sites allowing violent, abusive or illegal content to appear unchecked on their sites, and in the very worst cases children have died after being targeted by predators or seeing self-harm films posted online."

Sussex Police released an animation video (see below) warning young girls and boys about the risk of social media pervs who try to get them to send nude selfies.

The force said it will release two animations – aimed at children and young people from the ages of 11 to 17 – on their Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube accounts.

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