Family Matters: Why teens leaving Facebook matters

WATCH ABOVE: For parents with teenagers, this will come as no surprise. New numbers suggest teens continue to abandon Facebook in favour of other social media platforms. At least one expert argues life without Facebook may mean young people could be missing out. Kim Smith explains.

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New numbers suggest teenagers continue to abandon Facebook in favour of other social media platforms, which is likely no surprise for parents of young adults.

Global News met with about a dozen students at Lillian Osborne High School in Edmonton and no one said they use Facebook.

“I don’t see the point in using an application that no one in my age category uses,” Brett Robbins, a grade 12 student, said. “Instagram is mainly for following celebrities and Snapchat is mainly to communicate with friends.”

“I’m on Instagram throughout the day, between classes. Really that and Snapchat is what teenagers use to communicate with each other,” Brendan Heard, a grade 12 student, said.

“The only reason I have Facebook is for games.”

“I don’t think a lot of my friends have Facebook and I usually communicate through Snapchat and Instagram, so I don’t really see a point,” Mia Vukadin, a grade 12 student, said.

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According to a recent survey by Piper Jaffray of 8,600 teens across 48 U.S. states, 36 per cent use Facebook compared to 45 per cent in the spring and 60 per cent in the spring of 2016. Snapchat and Instagram remain steady at more than 80 per cent.

Some of the high school students Global News spoke with said apps that focus on pictures instead of text are more appealing.

“I think that’s why Facebook is being used less is because they’re putting the whole story. I don’t think that people have the time for that and even if they do, I don’t think they want to spend the time on that,” Heard said.

Why teens leaving Facebook matters

A researcher at the University of Alberta argued there are social implications to teens leaving Facebook. David Brake said image-based apps typically only offer a snapshot of our world, and have less context than Facebook.

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“Because Facebook is textual as well as imaged-based, people can tell stories about themselves. You might get a richer sense of what they’re like than just checking out their picture feed,” Brake said via Skype from Newfoundland.

“Not to say anything necessarily bad about Instagram or Snapchat, but they simply don’t provide the same ways of expression that Facebook does.”

Brake said Snapchat and Instragram offer less opportunity to stumble across news or to join events and groups.

“If they (teenagers) are not getting some news, whatever the quality of that news is on Facebook, maybe they’re not getting news at all,” Brake said.

“Facebook makes it easy to form interest groups around whatever special interest you might have, that might be chess or that might be LGBTQ issues.”


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