A teenager’s view of social media

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teens and social media

There is no denying that social media is a big part of our life as a family.  Okay, admittedly I am the biggest user of it, possibly on a scale completely incomprehensible by friends and family who don’t have Twitter or Facebook accounts, let alone blogs.   For my close family though it is just a way of life now and they are quite used to getting texts from friends saying “what has your mum just tweeted a picture of?” or scrolling through Twitter to find out where I am when they wake up to find the house empty.

Which is why I was really interested in an article I saw the lovely Penny Carr share recently entitled “A Teenager’s View of Social Media” .   The teenager in question an American.   I thought it might be quite interesting to quiz my two teenagers and ask them what their views are on the various social media channels.  Jonnie is 19 and working and Ellie is 16 and at school.

Facebook

Jonnie.   Where women approaching middle age go to convince themselves they are not old by spend their days posting selfies.  And for parents stalking their kids.  It also seems to be where adults spend all day complaining about everything.  Thinking FB is where you can moan, like having a cofffee morning with friends and not realising that most of the time nobody else cares.  I use it though as it is where I find friend’s phone numbers.

Ellie.   What Jonnie said.   It’s pointless.   On it because I made an account in 2008 and don’t really know why I haven’t left.   I only use it for planning events and sharing privately, not publicly.

Instagram

Jonnie   I don’t use it as I have a BlackBerry.   Have an account though but never use it.  Where people go to brag. Or post ridiculous amounts of selfies because they just trying to fish for compliments.   It’s twitter for people who can’t spell.

Ellie  Yep just a place for girls to get their cleavage out to get guys to like them.  I am on there but don’t use it that much.

Twitter

Jonnie.  Dont really use it much but read more than I post. Used to have an account with 30,000 followers but got bored of it so deleted it.   Makes me laugh when people who are new tweet Harry Styles expecting a response and then get huffy when they don’t get one.

Ellie  Not on it anymore, I deleted my account because I got sick of seeing teenage girls trying to get people’s attention and the passive aggressive stuff sub-tweeting.

Snapchat

Jonnie.  Don’t use it.  Got an account though.   It’s just for people to send naked photos.

Ellie.   Same as Instagram, place for teenage girls to get their boobs out.    Though I do use it to talk to my sister who shares pictures of her cute cat.   Won’t leave it though as all friends are on it and I like to stalk my friends.

 At this point I asked Jonnie why he was on all these channels but didn’t use them.   He said he was there as he had registered his name so that nobody could else could nab it.   I think he learnt that from me since I registered all three of my children a Hotmail email account when they were about two.

Jonnie also thinks that if any of them take off and are the next big thing he wants to make sure he has his name.

Shrewd move.

Tumblr

Jonnie.   Dont use it, but it seems to be a place for 18 year olds socially awkward people who are trying to be edgy by saying “I don’t see myself as male or female but more as a leprauchan” to post stuff.

Ellie.   Twitter for people who can’t read

Jonnie laughs “that sums it up”

Yik Yak

Jonnie   Never heard of it

Ellie.  Load of crap.  Just used to anonymously bully poeople within ten miles

YouTube

Jonnie   Don’t really use it, have never posted anything, nor do I subscribe to anybody’s feeds but I use it  to watch videos.

Ellie   It’s a great way to stalk peoples lives.   I do use it as a search engine.   If it wasn’t for YouTube I would have failed my latest physics exam on the electro magnetic spectrum.

I asked Jonnie and Ellie if they were envious of the “YouTube sensations” and thought their stardom madness, their response was  “Fair enough if earning money.   Not jealous at all”.

Medium

Neither of us have heard of it

Lindked In

Jonnie don’t use it, but like the others I have an account.

Ellie dont use it, have an account   It really is just for people looking for a job

Pinterest

Jonnie don’t use it but have an account

Ellie   I love it.   Use it for curing boredom mostly.

Kik

Jonnie   Used by people too perverted to give out their phone number on whatsapp so they make a fake account to masquarade as 15 year old girls.

Ellie.   If anybody asks what your kik is they are a peadophile      Exactly what Jonnie said

Keek

Jonnie   Not on it

Ellie  On it but don’t use it as it is only used by Janoskians.   (Ed note: The Janoskians are a YouTube comedy group originally from Melbourne, Australia, who are now based in Los Angeles)

Vine

Jonnie  Don’t use it, it died, nobody really uses it.

Ellie  Don’t use it

Whatsapp

Jonnie    Free texts basically.   Use it more than any other channel and have sent over 150,000 messages in a year,  65,000 of those messages to just 6 people.

Ellie  I use it to send pictures to people who don’t have imessage.

Skype

Unanimously: “So old hat”.

Google+

“Load of crap”

I found this fascinating as I thought they would both be more active on the mainstream social media channels rather than things like Whatsapp.   It looks like communicating with friends one on one is much more popular than sharing information publicly or with strangers, as is the case on Twitter for instance.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Is this indicative of how teens really use social media in your experience?  The media would have us believe that all teens are addicted to all channels but from where I am sitting that simply isn’t true, which has surprised me.

Social media image courtesy of shutterstock

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  • Very interesting.
    I haven’t asked my teen about all of these but certainly am aware his Facebook account lies dormant and he isn’t on Twitter. If he does use social media, it’s in order to message friends in some way.

  • That is really interesting as you would expect social media to be more of a teen thing. My son is 19 and uses Twitter a bit and FB to chat to his friends. He finds my use of social media amusing. I asked him to set up an a Instagram account for when he goes to New Zealand and he laughed and said no way.

    • Funny isn’t it? The media really makes us think that our teens are social media addicts when in reality they aren’t. And appear to be making sure their lives online are becoming more and more private.

      Thanks for commenting

  • That is all really interesting stuff – one of the clients I work with has a predominantly young staff and none of them are on social media – and yet many of the customers come having seen recommendations on social media. It goes to show that nothing stands still and we need to be aware of what’s going on all the time and not get stuck into believing that anyone knows best.

  • Very interesting post. I would have thought teenagers were more into social media just because of having grown up with it but it’s good to read that your two prefer the one to one interaction from things like WhatsApp rather than making everything public on Facebook. Perhaps it is just that they are also more aware of the importance of privacy and not giving out too much info online (am guessing schools tend to reinforce this?) Have to confess I haven’t heard of several sites that you’ve mentioned though. Great post.

  • That is such an eye-opener! What on earth are we all worrying about then when our kids get old enough to have social media channels?! I love that they’re so savvy (and that Jonnie is such a cynic – he’ll go far)!

    My 10 year old has Whatsapp and prefers it already to texts. I’m fascinated by their view of Facebook especially. It all just proves that we should give teens the benefit of the doubt a bit more – they make good decisions most of the time.

  • Wow, I didn’t expect their usage to be this low! My 22 year old uses Tumblr for entertainment, Whats App to keep in touch with friends, and Twitter to find out what’s going on in the world and to keep track of her special interests. Hope all teens are like this 🙂

  • My teen uses Facebook rarely only to update far flung family of her life- her Nanny uses it far more often, and all her Aunties not to mention parents, which is why she doesn’t I am sure! She twitters a bit, loves Instagram and tumblr as she is into photography and pretty things, and snapchat is popukar with her and her mates for daft pics!

  • Well! Lost for words!

    I congratulate them both for being so articulate and frank and for having so much stamina.
    From my throne on Mount Olympus I ponder and wonder about what I see with less and
    less comprehension with each passing day.
    Stroll on!

  • I find this incredibly interesting, especially with the amount of hype there is about teenagers supposedly spending all of their time on social media. It seems we’re the ones spending more time on there than them. We could learn a thing or two from your savvy children!

  • I’m so surprised by this. I love Facebook because it helps be keep in touch old friends, so maybe that’s why teens don’t use it so much as they have most of their friends readily available and time to see them?

  • Very interesting post. I can add that both my older kids hardly use social media either, they both have Facebook but rarely use it, megan has a Twitter account and IG but doesn’t use them much.
    I think it’s important to understand what the younger generation are up to

  • Hahahaha. I love Jonnie’s answers. And he’s right – Facebook is like one long coffee morning for me! But I enjoy it.
    Never got my cleavage out on Instagram though. Am I missing a trick there?
    Really expected two teenagers to be into more social media channels. I am surprised by the results.
    My 14-year-old niece is OBSESSED with checking Facebook and Snapchat every five seconds.

  • Interesting. I think my son uses skype to talk to his mates. I may have to ask him all this too.

  • you know i did wonder if in about 10 years tome Facebook will be more for families and so on….whats up is so popular everywhere because it can’t be tracked and is not public so it’s easier for teenagers these days.
    I really don’t know how life will look on social media in 10 years time or even in the next couple of years. PS: I can’t believe you boy deleted his twitter account at 30000 followers!

  • Great post – it is interesting to hear what teens think of the networks, as like you say- the media would have us believe that all teens are on it and using it!
    My tween is on Instagram and uses WhatsApp. I like to hear what your older teens think- they both seem very astute.