Most kids graduate to mainstream social networks at 11

We all know kids grow up fast, but online digital maturity is coming even faster. By the time they are eleven, a majority of kids in the West have graduated onto mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

This is according to the fourth Digital Diaries report, by internet security company AVG which found that in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and France a majority of parents with eleven year olds say their kids are accessing mainstream social networks.

In Germany a majority access them at 12, while in Italy and Spain, digital maturity starts as young as 10. Only Japan bucks the trend with few kids being present on these sites, according to the survey.

Parents who say their child accesses a mainstream social network such as Facebook or Twitter:

Despite the fact that their pre-teenagers are showing adult online usage patterns, few parents believe their children are better informed about the internet than they are.

When asked ‘who knows the most about the internet in your household’, more than seven out of 10 mothers and fathers (72%) said they were the most knowledgeable.  By comparison, less than one in 10 (8%) said their 10-13 year old knew the most.

Do dads really know the most?

No surprise here, but dads were by far the most likely to think of themselves as online experts despite evidence that shows most major social networks are female dominated. So how does that work? Almost nine in 10 (87%) dads surveyed thought they knew best, while barely one in 20 (5%) felt their kids were better informed.

However, the truth is that many parents are obviously not as well informed about their children’s internet habits as they like to think they are. On average, 58% (72% in the USA) log onto their kids’ computers when they are not around to see what they are doing online.

Research Now carried out the study on AVG’s behalf in September 2011.   4000+ parents with Internet access and children aged 10-13 in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were surveyed.     A full report and infographics can be found at www.avgdigitaldiaries.com.