Teens growing cool on Facebook but warming to Twitter, Pew study finds

The inane chatter and the number of adults on Facebook is putting some teens off

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  Internet

Some teens are growing tired of the excessive sharing and "drama" on Facebook and more are turning to sites like Twitter and Instagram to express themselves, according to a new study.

"Many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook," the Pew Research Center said in a study released Tuesday, based on interviews with 800 teens conducted between July and September last year.

They complained of too many adults on the site, the inane details shared by friends and the "drama" on Facebook, which they find draining, according to the study, conducted by the Pew Internet Project.

"The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm," the researchers said. On Twitter and Instagram, however, teens felt free from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook, according to the study.

Most teens remain active on Facebook, because it's "an important part of overall teen socializing," the study said. But almost a quarter of online teens now use Twitter, up from 16 percent in 2011.

Their disillusionment with Facebook may have something to do with the way they're using it. Some 70 percent said they are friends with their parents on the site, and only 5 percent restrict what their parents can see, according to the study. So Facebook is probably not a haven for illicit discussion.

But teenagers are keeping things open on Twitter, too. Just under 65 percent who have Twitter accounts make their tweets public, the study said.

Parents, meanwhile, are concerned about the amount of information advertisers can learn about their children. More than 80 percent of parents said they were "very" or "somewhat" concerned about that, according to the study

Teens were less concerned about third parties accessing their data. But almost one in three said they had seen ads that were "clearly inappropriate" for their age, though the study didn't say what type of ads they were.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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