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article imageFacebook use declining among Canadian and US teens

By Robert Myles     Apr 29, 2013 in Internet
That’s one of the conclusions of a revealing infographic published on American website Socialmediatoday which focuses on social media networks. And Facebook may find it harder to maintain market share against stiff competition from a few new competitors
The latest stats show the numbers of Facebook users having declined sharply in the United States and Canada. According to research assembled by Socialmediatoday, over a six month period, those logging on to Facebook declined 7.37% over six months in the United States and 5.3% in Canada.
Teenagers are reported to be gravitating towards other social media apps like Kik Messenger, WhatsApp and SnapChat while the most commonly cited reason for their switching off from Facebook was teenagers' embarrassment by the presence of their parents ‘dropping by’ or monitoring what their kids are up to socialmediawise.
Facebook’s move up the age demographic is borne out by data gauging that the average age of Facebook members increased from 38 to 41 years over the two years between 2010 and 2012. Whereas in 2010, 61% of Facebook users were over 35, in 2012, that figure had edged up to 65%.
Parents seem to be increasingly opening Facebook accounts to check what their children are up to. The survey reports that one in two parents’ reason for joining Facebook was to keep tabs on their kids! Not only that, a sky-high 74% of parents said they checked their child’s Facebook several times a week.
As a check on children behaving badly, monitoring via Facebook may be counter-productive, however. In the days before social media networks, parents might have made do with an occasional enquiries such as ‘What time will you be back?’ or ‘Who did you see last night?’ in the latter case making a judgement call on the shiftiness or otherwise of the interrogee. These days a parent’s stealth tactics on their kid’s Facebook page might result in children squirreling away their secrets buried far from parental prying eyes in the likes of Tumblr or other less prominent social media.
For parents, the survey indicates that if they want to keep checking up on their children in cyberspace, they are going to have to become more socially adept on social media networks other than Facebook. Nearly one third of teenagers say they are embarrassed by their parents’ Facebook comments and 30% say they would adopt the Facebook equivalent of sending to Coventry and ‘unfriend’ their parents.
And the bad news just keeps on coming for parents wanting to check up on their kids remotely rather than talk to them face to face. The shift to smartphones by teenagers is accelerating making parental monitoring even more difficult if teenagers maintain the move away from Facebook to other social media. 37% of teens currently own a smartphone. Since 2011, the number of teenagers owning a smartphone has shot up 61% and the numbers seem destined to keep on rising.
Although Facebook overall has a user-base of an estimated 1 billion plus members, since Facebook's Initial Private Offering (IPO) on the stock market in 2012, the decline amongst the teenage movers and shakers of the social media world may be a problem in the longer term. Once customers gravitate away to other social media, it can be nigh impossible to win them back to any significant degree as Myspace has demonstrated. When Facebook initially came to the market last year it was valued at $100 billion. Subsequently, its value fell sharply after the initial enthusiastic reaction by investors to less than $ 50 billion. Currently, Facebook is valued at around $65 billion.
More about Facebook, Social media, Facebook use, Parental controls, parental monitoring
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