A recent report from iStrategy Labs has provided estimates of the numbers of young users leaving Facebook in the last few years. According to the report, Facebook has lost over 4.3 million high-school aged users, amounting to over 25% of its users in the 13-17-year-old demographic since 2011.
The report adds significance to the anecdotal evidence and Facebook’s own admission that teens are leaving Facebook. But where are teens moving to among the social media universe?
Hard data is unavailable but anecdotal evidence and news reports are painting the picture that teens are moving to services that provide more privacy, fewer parents, and less drama. Teens are gravitating to specific-use social media apps (as opposed to Facebook’s all-in-one package) like Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and messaging apps like WhatsApp, and Kik.
What it means for parents… Teens are known for their early-adoption of new technology and social media apps. Parents (and older adults, overall) tend to be slower to engage in new technology. It stands to reason then, that kids are always going to be one-step ahead of their parents – and they like it that way! When parents catch up, it’s time for teens to start looking for something new.
As with all aspects of youth culture, it’s up to parents to strive to keep up to date with how their kids are engaging the culture. Social media is no exception.
Here are a few rules of thumb for parents in regard to managing teen’s interaction with social media:
1. Discuss social media with kids. Focus on both the positive and negative aspects, as well as the importance of protecting one’s reputation.
2. Set reasonable expectations and consequences for social media use, for limiting the sharing of personal information, and for which apps can be downloaded and used.
3. Set and use app or site profile privacy settings to limit content access.
4. Learn what apps are on your child’s phone, tablet or computer – and which ones they use the most.
5. Learn what these social media apps allow your kids to do. Engage in discussion with your kids about how they use them.