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29 Dec, 2013 13:14

'Embarrassed' to use Facebook: Teens shift to other sites to 'unfriend' with parents

'Embarrassed' to use Facebook: Teens shift to other sites to 'unfriend' with parents

Older teenagers have turned their backs on Facebook, an EU-funded study has found. Young people are opting for alternative social networks like Twitter and WhatsApp, while the "worst people of all, their parents, continue to use the service."

Analyzing how 16-18 year-old teenagers from eight EU countries use Facebook, researchers came to the conclusion that youngsters are no hooked on Facebook any longer while their parents are. According to the head anthropologist on the research team, Daniel Miller, "mostly they feel embarrassed even to be associated with it."

"Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives. Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving on to cooler things," Miller, who is also professor of Material Culture at University College London, explained in his article for the academic news website, The Conversation.

He said year 2013 marked the start of what looks likely to be "a sustained decline" of what had been "the most pervasive" of all social networking sites.

The Global Social Media Impact Study has found that former Facebook fans started using sites and apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, even though they are lacking in functionality.

"Most of the school children in our survey recognised that in many ways, Facebook is technically better than Twitter or Instagram," Miller noted.

Facebook has lost its former appeal to teenagers for a different reason.

"What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request. You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion,"
Miller explained, adding that "Facebook is simply not cool anymore."

According to researchers, close friends are connected to each other via Snapchat these days, while WhatsApp is mainly used to stay in touch with acquaintances, and Twitter to communicate with a wide range of persons. Facebook has meanwhile "evolved into a very different animal" - to become the link with older family members, including those who have left for university.