Why Is Facebook less Popular with Teenagers?


Is the decline of Facebook only a matter of time?  Perhaps.  According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 95% of teens are online to some degree and that number has been consistent since 2006.  Reports from multiple sources indicate that kids, especially teenagers, are moving away from Facebook in favor of other platforms.  If you’re wondering why that might be the case and you’re a parent, you might just need to look in the mirror to see the answer.

The reasons why kids are using Facebook less often is not isolated to just one reason, but parents are one of the biggest reasons.  Facebook is still number one among kids, but is declining and could soon be replaced as their favorite social media platform.  This is a real issue for Facebook because they are the future users of the site.  Once they stop using it or even stop using it as often, that will have a major influence on companies that pay to advertise on the site.  Now that Facebook is a publicly traded company, will it succumb to the same pressures from Wall Street that Starbucks did after it went public?

For some kids, they don’t want to be someplace where their parents are, just like they don’t want to be seen walking around with them at the local shopping mall.  Becky Giantonio Moran describes it on mentormob like this: “With their parents and grandparents invading their realm, teens and young adults are fleeing the network faster than a busted house party.”

Another reason why kids, especially teenagers, are using Facebook less is because the very nature of Facebook often results in their friends “over-sharing” about what the kids are doing, so even if they do not post anything disparaging on their Wall, updates made by their Facebook friends can show up in their newsfeed.  Even if the kids were to block their parents from seeing their newsfeed (what parent would actually allow that?) they may still be able to see the original posting on the page of whoever posted it in the first place.

So, while your child may not post anything about the wild party they he/she attended last weekend, once one of their friends does, it becomes available for everyone to see.  I have always said that if there is one person in the entire world that you don’t want to see what gets posted on social media, you can expect that they will find out about it, probably a lot sooner than you would anticipate.  For a teenager, that person is probably their parent(s).

Pew also reports that 71% of teens report that the computer that they use most often is shared with other members of their family.  That makes it easy to not only to see what a child is doing online, but to do it while looking over their shoulder as they do it – probably every teenager’s nightmare scenario.

There are those who recognize that there are fewer teens on Facebook than in the past, but do not attribute it to their parents.  Instead, they say that it is the very nature of children and society in general that is moving people of all ages away from Facebook and that as time goes by, the same trend will be evident in adults.  Their opinion is that kids are merely moving to platforms that offer content faster and more visually than Facebook.  That in today’s instant-results oriented society, Facebook doesn’t give them what they want.  And just as Microsoft Windows replaced DOS because of its visual emphasis, kids are moving to more visual platforms, such as Instagram, Flickr and Snapchat.

Another factor why teens are moving away from Facebook could be because they do not want the hassles of having friends their offline friends seeing who they are interacting with online.  That with the usual turmoil in the social lives of teenagers and how often BFFs can quickly become persona non-grata, it is best to avoid the issue completely by not using a social media platform where everyone can see your list of friends.

For whatever reason, the facts indicate that fewer teens are using Facebook.  As this generation of users gets older, it means the future for Facebook may be somewhat bleak.

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Sources:

  • Fox 29. “http://www.myfoxphilly.com/video?clipId=8907070&autostart=true.” May 2013. myfoxphilly.com. Video. 06 June 2013.
  • Madden, Mary, et al. “http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teens-and-Tech/Summary-of-Findings.aspx.” 13 March 2013. Teens and Technology 2013 . Web. 6 June 2013.
  • MentorMob. “http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/cyber-safety-and-social-media-for-administrators/what-are-the-most-popular-social-networking-sites-for-teens-2.” 2013. What are the Most Popular Social Networking Sites for Teens? Web. 05 June 2013.
  • Moran, Becky Giantonio. “http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/cyber-safety-and-social-media-for-administrators/3-reasons-teens-are-over-facebook-and-where-theyre-hanging-out-instead-fresh-pita-the-pita-group-blog-2.” 21 March 2013. 3 reasons teens are over Facebook (and where they’re hanging out instead). Web. 05 June 2013.