The number of children using the short-video app TikTok and the instant messaging app, Snapchat increased in the United Kingdom last year.
This information was made known by research published by the media regulator, Ofcom.
TikTok and Snapchat are used by roughly half of those aged 3 to 17, according to data collected as part of the watchdog’s annual survey of children’s and parents’ online attitudes.
The study discovered a slight increase in the popularity of both apps over the past year, with TikTok now used by 53% of children (up from 50%) and Snapchat by 46% (up from 42%).
In recent months, both companies have come under increasing scrutiny for user safety.
According to Ofcom’s annual report on media attitudes, children’s use of YouTube, Whatsapp, and Instagram has remained consistent (88%, 55%, and 41%, respectively), while Meta’s Facebook platform has declined in popularity from 40% to 34%.
“Children of all ages reported watching ‘dramatic’ content in various forms when selecting TV shows and films to watch,” according to the report.
In addition, Ofcom discovered that the proportion of 3- and 4-year-olds using Snapchat had increased to 17% in 2022, up from 12% the previous year.
According to a TikTok spokesperson, the government bans were based on “fundamental misconceptions” about TikTok’s safety protocols.
A Snap spokesperson claimed that criticism of the company’s record on underage users misrepresented its efforts, claiming that it blocks and deletes tens of thousands of attempts by underage UK users to create Snapchat accounts each month.
Various governments around the world have blocked TikTok from official devices, citing concerns about the app’s relationship with the Chinese government, while Snapchat has been chastised for failing to remove more underage users.
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