This Children’s Commissioner’s report on the effects of social media on 8-to-12-year-olds examines the way children use social media and its effects on their wellbeing. ‘Life in Likes’ fills a gap in research showing how younger children use platforms which social media companies say are not designed for them. Whilst most social media sites have an official age limit of 13 years, some research has suggested ¾ of 10-to-12 year olds have a social media account.
While 8-10s use social media in a playful, creative way – often to play games – this changes significantly as children’s social circles expand as they grow older. This report shows that many Year 7 children are finding social media hard to manage and becoming over-dependent on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ for social validation. They are also adapting their offline behaviour to fit an online image, and becoming increasingly anxious about ‘keeping up appearances’ as they get older.