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95% of elementary school students have Facebook accounts: survey

2012/07/04 11:02:51

Taipei, July 4 (CNA) Around 95 percent of the elementary school students aged 10-12 in Taiwan have Facebook accounts, even though the social network requires individuals to be at least 13 years old to register as users of the site, according to the results of a survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by the Child Welfare League Foundation, shows that 85.3 percent of the students polled in 19 elementary schools used fake names or falsified their ages to establish their accounts, while the other 10 percent said they share accounts with their parents or family members.

When surfing on Facebook, 57.2 percent of the respondents said they allow any type of applications to access their personal information, while 84.1 percent said they do not mind sharing their posts and messages with strangers.

In addition, 30.2 percent said they spend more than three hours per day using Facebook on weekends -- far more time than they spend chatting with their parents.

According to the survey, 61.7 percent said they add people they do not know as friends, with 31.2 percent of that number saying they have more that 10 strangers listed as friends.

The foundation's chief executive, Chen Li-ju, said that many parents have complained that they have to pretend to be someone else on Facebook in order to become "friends" with their children, as many of them refuse to add their parents.

The virtual world is rife with violent and sexual content that can have a long-term impact on children, Chen said, adding that although so many are active on Facebook, over 40 percent have no idea about the privacy settings they can use.

Chen Yin-hsueh, chief of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital's Department of Child Psychiatry, suggested that parents and teachers should pay more attention to their children's online behavior and talk more about gender issues to prevent them from falling victim to online predators.

The survey, conducted between March 22 and April 6, collected 1,144 valid responses with a confidence level of below 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(By Chen Yi-wei, Yu Kai-hsiang and Maia Huang)