Teenagers are turning their back on Facebook ‘in their droves’ and switching to simpler social networks and messaging apps, new research has found.
Not only are 16-18 year olds moving on to rivals such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and even Twitter, teens are embarrassed to be so much as associated with Facebook, as their parents adopt the network, researchers said.
“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,” said Daniel Miller, a Professor of Anthropology at University College London, who works on the Global Social Media Impact Study.
“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.
“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.”
Prof Miller, writing on academic news website the Conversation, added that the research found that “slick isn’t always best” as even the teenagers that took part in the study admitted that Facebook is technically better than its rivals.
“It is more integrated, better for photo albums, organising parties and more effective for observing people’s relationships,” he said, yet other factors are much more important to teens - namely the fact they are likely to get a friend request from their mum on Facebook.
“You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion," he said.
“It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.”
Instead, rather than using the network to communicate with each other, teens use Facebook as a link to older family and older siblings who have gone to university.
“To prevent overgrazing as others beasts have occupied its terrain, Facebook has to feed off somewhere else. It has thereby evolved into a very different animal,” Prof Miller concluded.