If you use Facebook to keep tabs on what your kids are doing, you may need to resort to more traditional methods…like talking. A report released by Piper Jaffray shows that while Facebook is still the most popular social network for teens, its usage has declined steeply in the last year –by nine percent.
This comes as no surprise in the web world – after all Myspace, once the king of social networking, turned into a wasteland after the hype had worn off. In addition, the site’s popularity has driven everyone to it – including those people that teens may have joined the site to escape from. Whereas the site used to be a haven for young people to congregate, the site has become ubiquitous and it’s hard to find any semblance of privacy. And with many more of the older population boarding the site, teens may be opting not to just ignore the friend requests from their friend’s mom, but to abandon the site altogether.
According to the Jaffray study, teens are moving to a greater number of more highly specialized social sites like Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter. These services focus less on promoting personal details and more on chronicling life events. Twitter for example allows teens to briefly express their emotions or thoughts, and Instagram allows them to capture their life in photos, without all the “other stuff” Facebook comes with. Reddit is a popular site for sharing memes, interacting with celebrities, and discussing news relevant to the users’ interests.
Also according to the study were some interesting facts about teen internet usage: almost 80% of all teenagers shop online – spending almost a fifth of their money on the internet. Three quarters of them prefer online shopping over store-based shopping, a trend which will bring significant economic effects as the generation gains more buying power.
And in order to access this vast web, nearly 91% of teens will buy smartphones for their next wireless device – 60% will buy an iPhone and 21% an Android.
With all this activity happening with the younger generation, it can be hard for parents to keep up. It can be overwhelming to keep up with all the different websites. So perhaps instead of trying to stalk our kids on every website they have a login for, we parents should just spend more time getting to know them – that’s a method that’s sure to work regardless of the social networks they frequent!