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Teens Aren’t Using Facebook, But They Still Love Video Games

Only 32% of teens use Facebook according to a new Pew study.

Image via WOCinTech Chat/Flickr.

In just three years, teens say Facebook has gone from cool to meh.

The decline seems to have little to do with recent privacy scandals or Russian meddling. Instead, U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 are simply using other social media platforms to stay connected and get their daily dose of internet. According to a study released in May 2018 by Pew Research Center, YouTube is the clear winner among this age group; a whopping 85% indicate they use the video platform.

Three years ago, YouTube didn’t even make it to the survey list. Back then, teens were using Facebook (71%), Instagram (52%), and Snapchat (41%). Even Google+ made the ranks in 2015, tied with Twitter at 33%.

Now, only 32% of teens use Facebook.

Some adults might assume teens are straying from Facebook because of online bullying, but according to the study, that’s not quite the case.

“A plurality of teens (45%) believe social media has a neither positive nor negative effect on people their age,” according to the study. “Meanwhile, roughly 3 in 10 teens (31%) say social media has had a mostly positive impact, while 24% describe its effect as mostly negative.”

Facebook’s largest demographic is 25- to 34-year-olds. Different data provided by Statista shows that in the United States, 35.3 million U.S. social media users were aged between 25 and 34 years.

Digital divide

Interestingly enough, one thing that is still relatively the same from both the 2015 and 2018 studies on social media use is that teens who live in higher-income households aren’t as interested in Facebook as teens living in lower-income households.

In the 2018 study, Pew reports that 7 in 10 teens living in households who earn less than $30,000 a year say they use Facebook compared with 36% whose annual family income is $75,000 or more. In 2015, it was 51% of teens living in households earning less than $30,000.

The richer teens presumably get their kicks by perusing viral videos on YouTube and liking random pictures of Selena Gomez on Instagram. Yet teens who do use Facebook say they mostly use it as a means to reach family and friends.

A 15-year-old female responded to the study by stating, “I feel that social media can make people my age feel less lonely or alone. It creates a space where you can interact with people.” However, another 15-year-old female — who was a part of the 14% to 17% that said social media could have a negative effect — said social media “makes it harder for people to socialize in real life because they become accustomed to not interacting with people in person.”

The reign of gamers

One major aspect of social media use that continues to grow among all groups, especially males, is the use of video games.

According to the study, “84% of teens say they have or have access to a game console at home, and 90% say they play video games of any kind (whether on a computer, game console or cellphone).” The trend is also high with the Latino community and teens who live in lower-income households. About 85% of teens from households earning less than $30,000 a year now say they have a game console at home, which is up from 67% in 2014-2015. Those numbers suggest that despite economic status, game use is pretty much accessible to all.

Still, as history has shown, teens know what’s up.

While adults are deactivating their Facebook accounts and claiming it’s a privacy issue, teens aren’t even bothering to use Facebook in the first place.

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