Teen Social Media Use Shifting Away From Facebook: Survey

A new Pew Research Center survey report released on May 31 suggests that, among teenagers, the popularity of Facebook is dwindling in favor of YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. According to the report, titled "Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018," 51-percent of those polled use Facebook. However, that's compared to the 69-percent of respondents that are active on Snapchat and the number jumps to 72-percent for Instagram. The largest group is active YouTube users, with as many as 85-percent using the streaming media and social platform. Meanwhile, only 10-percent of teen users say they use Facebook more often than the other platforms. For Snapchat and YouTube, that figure is 35-percent and 32-percent, while Instagram was the preferred platform for 15-percent of respondents. That's a relatively large drop for Facebook with consideration for Pew's results as reported in 2015. Back then, Facebook was used by 71-percent of teens in the age bracket and around half used Instagram. Snapchat was only used by 41-percent of respondents, at the time. That's despite the fact that 95-percent of teens purport to have access to a smartphone and 45-percent are online almost "constantly."

Although no reason is given in the report, with regard to the reasons Facebook has fallen, it could be tied in with negativity associated with the platform. To a much greater degree than its competition, Facebook has been met with controversy after controversy over the past year. While Pew reports that as many 31-percent of teens view social media as having a net positive impact on the world, 24-percent report the opposite. 45-percent of respondents believe the effects of social media on the world are negligible, or that it doesn't impact the world more in either direction. On the positive side of things, the majority of users see social media as a way to get news, meet like-minded individuals, or connect with friends and family. The latter of those is marked by 40-percent of teens as the reason social media is good. On the negative side of things, the reasoning is split more diversely. No fewer than 27-percent view the services as enabling bullying or the spread of rumors while 17-percent say it outright harms what would otherwise be healthy relationships. A further 15-percent say it gives users an unrealistic outlook on life and 14-percent consider it a distraction or addiction. 12-percent of teens reportedly dislike social media's ability to amplify the effects of peer pressure.

Whether or not any of that is behind Facebook's decline among users in the younger generation is, of course, entirely speculative. With that said, the report does also include plenty of interesting data about the splits between users of each platform by economic status, specific age, and gender. Anybody interested in delving into the results of the study further can do so by referring to the banner below.


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