Teens' enthusiasm for Facebook falling, Pew report finds

052313-social
A view of an iPhone, showing the Twitter and Facebook apps among others. A new poll finds that teens are sharing more about themselves on social media. They’re also moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the "oversharing" that they see on Facebook. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A new report finds teens aren't happy with a Facebook community that involves "drama," stress and their parents.

  • Pew says 94 percent of teens use Facebook despite their complaints.
  • Seventy percent of teens say they're Facebook friends with their parents.

Joining Facebook was once an eagerly awaited milestone for teenagers, who rushed to sign up once they finally obtained the necessary ".edu" email address from their college.

But as Facebook has vastly broadened its reach, teens say they're less enthusiastic about the social-networking site.

A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that social media use is skyrocketing among teenagers, but teens aren't happy with a Facebook community that involves "drama," stress and their parents.

Pew says 81 percent of teens use social-networking sites, up from 55 percent in 2006. And 94 percent of teens said they use Facebook, despite their complaints.

The report says teens "dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details, and are drained by the 'drama' that they described as happening frequently on the site. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm."

Facebook opened to anyone above age 13 in 2006, two years after it launched. At the start, the site was only open to those with valid college email addresses. Adults -- not high school or college students -- have been Facebook's fastest-growing demographic for several years.

That growth means that 70 percent of teens say they're Facebook friends with the parents, according to the Pew report. And 91 percent are friends with members of their extended family; 30 percent are friends with teachers or coaches.

As one 17-year-old boy said in a focus group: "It sucks... Because then they [my parents] start asking me questions like why are you doing this, why are you doing that. It’s like, it’s my Facebook. If I don’t get privacy at home, at least, I think, I should get privacy on a social network."

Teens reported moving to networks like Twitter and Instagram to be "freed from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook," the report says.

In a focus group, a 19-year-old girl said she used the other sites because "my mom doesn't have that."

And a 14-year-old girl said: "I think Facebook can be fun, but also it's drama central. On Facebook, people imply things and say things, even just by a like, that they wouldn't say in real life."

Still, 81 percent of teens said Facebook was the social-media profile they use most often.

Teens are also using other sites, too: 26 percent were on Twitter last year -- up from just 12 percent the previous year. Eleven percent were on Instagram and 5 percent were on Tumblr. From 2011 to 2012, the percent of teens who said they used MySpace dropped from 24 percent to 7 percent.

Among other findings from the report:

- Sixty percent of Facebook-using teens say they keep their profiles private, and they are confident in their ability to manage privacy settings.

- Ninety-two percent of teens use their real name on the social network they use most often.

- Black teens are much more likely to use Twitter than white youth.

- Seventy-four percent have deleted people from a social network; 58 percent have blocked other users

- Seventeen percent reported some type of online contact that made them scared or uncomfortable.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.