The Internet is in a circular debate about just how much teens aren’t using Facebook. Some sites say Facebook is hemorrhaging young users, while others disagree.
A study by digital agency iStrategy confirms that Facebook has lost more than 3 million users in the 13 to 17 age group over the last three years. The 18 to 24 age group has also declined by nearly 2.5 million.
While iStrategy says its study was aimed at putting the debate to rest, the data indicate that the alarm over decreased teen Facebook use may be premature. Teens are a notoriously fickle audience and really, Facebook’s target wasn’t teenagers to begin with. Sounding the alarm of Facebook’s death may be great click bait, but the data suggest that high school students were never Facebook’s core users.
According to the iStrategy study, Facebook usage has grown 32 percent among those 25 to 34, it’s up 41 percent among those 35 to 54, and those 55 and older show a stunning 80 percent increase. This information suggests that while Facebook may not be as attractive to teens anymore it is not, in fact, “dead and buried.” At least for the older crowd.
Here’s the thing: If you want sustained growth, you can’t really count on teenagers for a loyal following. According to The Conversation, Facebook has become a place to connect with older family members, and the deciding factor in teens’ choice to use Facebook less frequently, is when “mum” sends a friend request.
“You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion,” writes contributor Daniel Miller.
Still, according to a Pew study, Facebook is the dominant social network for teens and only five percent hide updates from their parents. The same study also indicates that teens dislike the growing presence of adults and banal updates from their peers.
“Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out,” the study says.
So while it is true teens are turning to other social channels to communicate with each other, Facebook use in the US is up overall.
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