Today’s teens have often been called the Facebook generation for their perceived skill at utilizing social networks. But a new report released by the Pew Research Foundation says that dealing with Facebook may be the last thing the Facebook generation wants to do.
The report is called “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy.” It is a collaboration between the Pew Research Foundation and the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Throughout it there are many surprising finds about the relationship between teens and social media, many of them bad for Facebook.
Although 77% of online teens have a Facebook account, they don’t operate in the open and sharing existence that most people think. According to the study’s focus group, teens were far more likely to say that they associated with constraints such as increasing adult preference, high-pressure, negative social interactions ("drama"), or feeling overwhelmed by people who share too much.
The study found that many teens found Facebook to be an extension of offline social dynamics, a trait that many find negative. The study found that many teens engaged in what was termed “reputation management.” The table below shows some of the ways in which this is achieved and the percentage of teens doing them.
Thus Facebook has become a “social burden” for teens. The report states, "While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives, it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own."
This inability to escape the existing offline social networks that Facebook cements has lead teens to try other services. Twenty-six percent of teens are on Twitter now, nearly double from 2011.
Even more astoundingly nearly two thirds of those teens post publicly compared to the 14% of Facebook users with completely public profiles.
The report put hard numbers and data on an issues that has been stirring under the waters with regards to Facebook, its teen problem. The report mentioned that teens spoke highly of Instagram and how they enjoyed it compared to Facebook, shedding more additional light into Facebook's acquisition of the photo service for $715 million. Teens are increasingly turning to new social networks such as Snapchat, a service that allows you to send a photo to your friends but set it to be deleted after a number of seconds. Facebook built an app called Poke that mimicked Snapchat's functionality, but was a flop, barely even fazing Snapchat.
Still Facebook is a social media bedrock. But having a profile on the social media website is not the same as being an active user and Facebook should be concerned with the data that this report provides.