New data gathered from a study by anthropologist Daniel Miller suggests teenagers are sick of using Facebook, and in some instances are even “embarrassed” to be associated with the social network. According to Miller, who conducted a 15-month study of social media in eight different countries, the reason teens are shunning Mark Zuckerberg’s online playground is because parents and other family members often use it to keep tabs on them.
“You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion,” Miller concluded. Very true, and the phenomenon doesn’t just affect teens; many working adults are finding out that their social media behavior directly effects their real-world life. “Young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore,” Miller said. It’s perhaps why other alternatives, such as Instagram and Snapchat, have become so incredibly popular throughout the year.
While the younger audience may be shunning Facebook in favor of other social networks, Facebook is hardly troubled by the teenage exodus. Via Wired, the slack of users is being picked up by older generations, including those who “go off to college and enter the ‘real world.’” Users in their early- to mid-20s need to stay in touch somehow, and it appears Facebook is the method of choice. The ephemerality of services like Snapchat apparently don’t appeal to older users who are looking to “maintain long-term relationships.”
Even Miller found that teens agree that Facebook is better for maintaining relationships with people outside of one’s immediate circle, though its appeal has been replaced by alternatives that are easier to use outside of a parent’s watchful eye. But while some young users are turning their back on Facebook, it seems Zuckerberg knows it’s only a matter of time before they come running back. “Most of the school children in our survey recognized that in many ways, Facebook is technically better than Twitter or Instagram,” Miller said.