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Teens Are Getting Over Facebook, and Not Just Because Their Parents Are On It
Posted on May 24th 2013
The background chatter about teens leaving Facebook has been steadily increasing in volume practically all year. It’s well known that teens are beginning to feel crowded out on the Zuckerberg owned network by all the parents, aunts, uncles, and other undesirable adult types that have been cropping up on it.
But the fact that someone’s dad or aunt Lily is encroaching upon their digital turf isn’t the only reason teens are getting over Facebook. Many teens these days seem to have developed a kind of love-hate relationship with the social network.
A new report produced this week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed that while Facebook remains the leading social network amongst teenagers in the U.S., it’s also ironically, the one they hate the most.
In addition to the invasion of adults who’ve taken to the network in increasing numbers, teens cited other reasons for not liking Facebook, including “high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (drama), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much.”
Many teens also seem to be backlashing against the compulsive tendencies that can accompany Facebook usage.
“Honestly, I’m on it constantly but I hate it so much,” said one 15-year-old girl polled by the Pew researchers.
“I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because,” explained Casey Schwartz, a 14-year-old girl who spoke to the Huffington Post recently about her social media and iPhone usage. “It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life.”
Facebook as a Venue for Popularity Contests
Facebook, it seems more than any other social media network, has become the central arena in which popularity contests, over-sharing and other forms of teenage drama are played out online. Speaking to the HuffPost, Schwartz revealed the importance that teens place on “likes” and how not getting as many as your friends receive for say, changing your profile picture, can be stress-inducing.
“If you don’t get 100 ‘likes,’ you make other people share it so you get 100,” explained the eight grader. “Or else you just get upset. Everyone wants to get the most ‘likes.’ It’s like a popularity contest.”
Many of the teens that depart Facebook do so because they feel that other social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are less pressurized then Facebook. On these other networks, they are relatively free from the eyes of parents and other adults, while also being a bit less-constricted by social pressure from their peers, for whom Facebook is a place where you must bring you’re A game.
“I like Tumblr because I don’t have to present a specific or false image of myself and I don’t have to interact with people I don’t necessarily want to talk to,” said another of the 15-year-old girls who spoke with Pew.
Social Media as a Chore
Yet despite the fact that teens are getting over Facebook, they aren’t necessarily leaving it. In fact between 2011 and 2012, teenage Facebook usage actually increased.
But with their parents, aunts, and uncles all over the network, and hundreds of offices full of marketers across the country focused on how best to use it to target them with product pitches, is it any wonder that teens are beginning to feel like checking their Facebook is more a chore than anything else?