A new study has emerged that says Facebook is “dead and buried,” especially among the younger set. A large group of teenagers aged 16 to 18 participated in the study, which spanned over a year’s time and throughout eight different countries. The results may greatly dismay Mark Zuckerberg, as the survey reveals Facebook has become “uncool” with teens who are leaving the site “in droves.” Young folks would much rather engage with less complicated sites, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter instead of spending time updating their Facebook profile and participating in organized, lengthy discussions.
The newer social applications are perceived as “cooler” than Facebook, and allow for much shorter and faster interactions. Snapchat, for example, is an app which facilitates sending photos to friends. The photos are only temporary and erase themselves after a couple of seconds or minutes. This is thought to be a positive step in preserving privacy. The well-known site Twitter limits interactions to just 140 characters, and is not used for ongoing conversations, to form lasting friendships, or even to get to know people beyond the few seconds it takes to compose a Tweet.
The study has shown that Facebook is dead with young folks as teens leave in droves, but has also revealed that they use it almost exclusively to make their own relatives happy. Teens view Facebook as a place where old people meet up online but it’s not seen as a place where cool young people would get together. Teens’ use of Facebook now is to catch up with their moms, dads, aunts, uncles and even grandparents.
What’s more, the study authors say, is that the drop in usage among teens appears to be very steady. They explain:
This year marked the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline of what had been the most pervasive of all social networking sites. Young people are turning away in droves and adopting other social networks instead, while the worst people of all, their parents, continue to use the service.
Social networking has been shown in studies to cause depression, anxiety, a drastic decline in actual real life social skills; drops in grades and amount of time spent studying, extreme addiction-complete with distressing physical symptoms, lowered self-esteem, fewer feelings of overall well-being and a variety of other negative effects. Given this long list of undesirable outcomes caused by social networking, it would seem that moving from a more complex site like Facebook, where real relationships can be formed, to extremely simplistic sites which encourage even more superficial interactions, could cause the proliferation of even more deleterious effects among impressionable teens.
All of the positive results of using a site like Facebook, such as strengthened family interactions and conversations, could swiftly disappear with the use of apps which utilize quicker and shallower interactions. Further, it seems logical to question why teens would need an app that allows pictures to disappear within seconds. Parents may wonder what kind of pictures their children are sending and worry over the fact that disappearing pictures leaves the kids with nothing to remember or look back upon. Facebook is dead as teens leave in droves, says this newest study; but the revelation almost begs the question: are the newer, “cooler” apps good for kids?
By: Rebecca Savastio