Wednesday, January 01, 2014

You know it's time to leave Facebook when ... your mom and especially granny send you friend requests ... Yikes!

With parents on Facebook, teens find other apps

Benny Evangelista
Monday, December 30, 2013

There have been numerous stories about how teenagers are turning to apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp instead of Facebook, but one British professor says a broader European study shows the trend is far more dire for the Menlo Park social network.

"What we've learned from working with 16-18 year olds in the UK is that Facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried," Daniel Miller, professor of material culture at University College London, writes in a blog post. "Mostly they feel embarrassed even to be associated with it."

Miller bases his opinion on an ongoing 15-month European Union-funded study on the impact of social media. Miller is the lead anthropologist for the research, which consists of nine simultaneous ethnographic studies in eight countries.

In a quarterly earnings call in October, Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman acknowledged a decrease in daily usage by younger teens, although he insisted it was hard to measure how much younger users engage with Facebook. He also said Facebook remained "close to fully penetrated among teens in the U S."

But American teenagers say they are cutting back on Facebook partly to get away from their parents, aunts, uncles and other family members. Miller said the European Union study is also coming to that conclusion.

"Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives," Miller wrote. "Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected.

"In response, the young are moving on to cooler things. Instead, four new contenders for the crown have emerged: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp."

Miller said teens don't seem to care about whether some nefarious government agency or Facebook itself is messing with their privacy rights. They just don't want their parents to know what they're doing.

"What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person's decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request," he wrote.

"You just can't be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion. The desire for the new also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in social media. It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore."

He said 2013 seemed to mark "the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline of what had been the most pervasive of all social networking sites. Young people are turning away in their droves and adopting other social networks instead, while the worst people of all, their parents, continue to use the service."


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