Apparently, more than a quarter of 8 - 11 year olds have a profile on an online networking site according to a survey by Ofcom. One result of the report was a debate on the BBC Have Your Say forum about who should take responsibility for the safety of children online. While most people seemed to agree responsibility lay with parents, a number seemed to think it was somehow up to other people to safeguard children who use the internet. All I can say to that is: what a complete load of old cobblers.
My children are well past the 8-11 age group, but they are still only allowed to use a computer in a well used area of the house. The only exception is my 20 year old, but I think monitoring him would be taking things a bit too far LOL However, anyone who is letting their 8 year old use social networks, or the internet generally and who seriously expects service providers to act in loco parentis is quite frankly deluding themselves. Do these people expect the manufacturers of bleach to pop round to stop their toddlers drinking it?!
If you are one of these parents, for goodness sake get a grip. You are responsible for your children and for what they access online! Yes, maybe better enforcement of age restrictions should be introduced, but that does not mean parents can turn a blind eye and just assume little Johnny is quite safe typing away in his bedroom.