The social media sites TikTok and Snapchat saw an increase in kid users in the UK last year, according to research done by Ofcom.
The UK media watchdog reports that half of the kids using TikTok and Snapchat are between the ages of three and seventeen.
The study was conducted as part of the watchdog’s yearly survey of parents’ and kids’ views towards the internet.
In the previous year, both apps saw a small uptick in popularity, with up to 53% of kids using TikTok (up from 50%) and 46% using Snapchat (up from 42%).
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🎭Kids are drawn to dramatic videos
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— Ofcom (@Ofcom) March 29, 2023
However, both companies have lately faced concerns regarding user safety. Due to its alleged ties to China, TikTok has been blocked from official devices by numerous governments worldwide, while Snapchat has come under criticism for not removing minors from the platform.
According to the study, children continued to use YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram (88%, 55%, and 41%, respectively), while Facebook, which is owned by Meta, saw a drop in users from 40% to 34%.
The report stated that when choosing which TV shows and movies to view, kids of all ages “reported choosing to watch ‘dramatic’ content in various forms.”
Additionally, the percentage of three and four-year-olds using Snapchat rose from 12% in 2021 to 17% in 2022.
The spokesperson for TikTok blamed “fundamental misconceptions” regarding the platform’s safety procedures for the ban by various governments.
In the meantime, a spokesperson for Snapchat claimed that criticism of the app’s policies towards minors “misrepresented its efforts,” adding that thousands of attempts by minors in the UK to open Snapchat profiles each month are rejected and deleted.