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Underage children on social networks

MANY underage Irish children have Facebook and Bebo profiles.

Half of 11 and 12-year-old children and one-in-five children between nine and 10 have profiles on Facebook or Bebo.

This is despite the fact both websites set age restrictions for users at age 13, according to a new report, Social Networking Among Irish 9 to 16-year-olds, written by Dublin Institute of Technology researchers.

Dr Brian O'Neill and Thuy Dinh, the report's authors, say their findings show that online age restrictions are ineffective and also reveal how young children are taking greater online risks.

Dr Brian O'Neill said: "Current age restrictions appear not to be effective. It is not possible for industry providers to identify which users are under 13."