Nearly a million UK children aged seven to 12 use Facebook, despite being below the social network's minimum age limit, says Mintel.

The research firm revealed half of all kids in this age group belong to a social network with 49 percent saying they visit the site 'every day'. Just 5 percent claim they 'never' use their social networking profile.

Furthermore, Mintel said Facebook is most popular with girls aged 10 to 12, with 54 percent of this group visiting the site every day. Twitter and Club Penguin were named as the next most popular social networks but only 9 percent of kids that use these sites visit every day.

Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of 7 to 12-year-olds said they belong to a social network because their friends do. Of these, 71 percent were girls aged 10 to 12, which show they are most likely to follow the crowd.

The majority (54 percent) use a PC to visit social networking sites but more than one in ten (11 percent) of 7 to 12-year-olds said they use a mobile phone. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of children aged 7 to 12 use a smartphone to surf other websites. In Furthermore, more than three quarters (78 percent) of kids aged 10 to 12 said their mobile phone was their 'most-prized possession'.

"Being the digital natives, today's children are well versed in all aspects of technology and the internet. Perhaps, joining Facebook is viewed as a rite of passage into secondary school and an absolute must-have for entering the social scene and maintaining social circles," said Ina Mitskavets, senior lifestyles analyst at Mintel.