REPORT: Teens Still Use Facebook (And Can Master Privacy Settings)

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The people in teens’ friend networks changes based on race and gender, as well. Girls are more likely than boys (37 percent vs. 23 percent) to be Facebook friends with their coaches or teachers. 48 percent African-American teens in the survey said they have celebrities, athletes, or musicians in their News Feed, compared to 25 percent of white teens.

However, while 70 percent of teens surveyed are Facebook friends with their parents, focus groups conducted by Pew show that this kind of interaction is the main problem for the age group. Teens felt like with mom and dad electronically close by, they couldn’t truly express themselves, opting for sites such as Twitter and Instagram:

In focus groups, many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook. They dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details, and are drained by the “drama” that they described as happening frequently on the site. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.

Unlike many of their adult counterparts, teens feel they’re pretty good at managing their Facebook privacy settings. 60 percent of teens ages 12-17 in the study say they have their Facebook profile private, so only their friends can see it. Another 25 percent have privacy settings geared toward friends-of-friends. 14 percent of those surveyed said their profiles are totally public.

Girls (70 percent) are more likely than boys (50 percent) to have a private profile. 20 percent of boys surveyed said they have a public profile, compared to 8 percent of girls.

  • 56 percent of teens in the study said it’s “not difficult at all,” to manage privacy controls on their Facebook profile.
  • 33 percent said it’s “not too difficult.”
  • 8 percent said managing privacy settings is “somewhat difficult.”
  • Less than 1 percent described the process as “very difficult.”
  • 41 percent of 12 and 13 year olds polled said that it is “not difficult at all” to manage privacy settings, compared with 61 percent of 14-17 year olds.
  • Boys and girls are similarly confident about controlling their privacy on Facebook.

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