Facebook is one of the worst sites for exposing children to violence and bullying, according to a major study.
The NSPCC has published a breakdown of 14 sites, apps and games where kids are most likely to see inappropriate content.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network was in the top three worst offenders, along with YouTube and computer game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Researchers found that 58 per cent of children using the social network had been exposed to bullying, 37 per cent to drink and drugs, 36 per cent to sexual content, 36 per cent to suicide and 55 per cent to violence.
The report published in the Daily Telegraph, found that on YouTube 40 per cent of children said they had seen violent material on YouTube, and 37 per cent had experienced cyber bullying.
Nearly a third reported seeing self-harming or suicide content.
The NSPCC spoke to 2,000 children and 2,000 parents for the major study.
One girl, 15, told researchers: ‘You can see anything.
‘Little children can easily see disturbing things as well as harassment that can be horrible – and little ones can see sex videos.’
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network was in the top three worst offenders
A boy, 15, said about Grand Theft Auto: ‘This is unsafe for kids because it can influence them to be violent.’
Another youngster, 17, said: ‘If your friends have shared it, it is unavoidable – such as beheadings, terror attacks etc.’
A parent of two young boys added: ‘My son finds [sex images] easily, even through the parental controls.
‘He has found full porn videos [on YouTube] along with many half naked women dancing provocatively.’
A third of children aged 11 to 18-years-old have also seen self-harming or suicide material on Facebook, the NSPCC reveals
Andy Burrows, who has led NSPCC safety campaigns and investigations, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘For the last decade the social media giants have been able to do what they like when it comes to child protection.
‘There’s been no legal requirement to take action.
‘It’s time we had regulation to catch up with a sector that has become so dominant and where firms have shown they are not prepared to take the steps needed to ensure the sites are safe for children.’
Abbie Gilligan, of the NSPCC, told the paper that the material they have access to is ‘quite troubling.’
A screenshot from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. One boy, 15, said it was ‘unsafe’ because it can ‘influence’ children to be violent
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network was in the top three worst offenders, along with Grand Theft Auto (left) and YouTube
Facebook said in a statement that it had doubled its safety and security team to 20,000.
It said: ‘This is an evolving challenge which requires us to be vigilant and to collaborate with industry and government to develop new solutions, including AI.’
Snapchat said accounts promoting abuse, nudity, threats and other inappropriate content were banned and its online safety team worked round the clock to respond to reports and concerns.
Twitter said it had zero tolerance of child exploitation. It had put in place more than 30 safety policy changes, and regularly blocked accounts.
Roblox, an online game platform, said: ‘We strive to ensure all content and activity on the platform aligns with our Rules of Conduct,’ said a spokesman.