LONDON: Research conducted by Ofcom found that the social media platforms, TikTok and Snapchat, have seen a rise in child users in the United Kingdom last year.
According to the UK media regulator, half of the children using TikTok and Snapchat are aged between 3 and 17.
The research was done as the watchdog’s annual survey of children’s and parents’ online attitudes.
There was a slight increase in the popularity of both apps in the previous year, with up to 53% of children using TikTok (up from 50%) and 46% using Snapchat (up from 42%).
However, both companies have been questioned about user safety recently. TikTok has been banned by several governments around the world from official devices over its alleged ties with China while Snapchat has come under fire for not removing minors from the platform.
As per the report, children’s usage of YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram remained steady (88%, 55% and 41%, respectively), while Meta-owned Facebook witnessed a decline in its users from 40% to 34%.
“Children of all ages reported choosing to watch ‘dramatic’ content in various forms when selecting TV shows and films to watch,” the report said.
Moreover, the number of three and four-year-olds using Snapchat has increased to 17% in 2022, up from 12% the previous year.
TikTok’s spokesperson attributed the ban by different governments to “fundamental misconceptions” around the platform’s safety protocols.
Meanwhile, Snapchat’s spokesperson said that the app’s criticism of underage users “misrepresented its efforts”, adding that thousands of attempts by underage UK users to create Snapchat accounts monthly are blocked and deleted.