Why Teenagers don’t use Social Networking Sites

In a recent study the conclusion about social networking sites and teens was that 93% of teens and young adults go online, compared to only 38% of adults over 65 years of age. It is surprising that 7% of 12-29 year olds still don’t use social networking sites. Twitter is the exception because it’s the only social networking site not often used by teenagers and young adults. Here you can read more about social media and young adults.

But why do some teenagers choose not to use social networking sites?

From a research with American college students participating:

disinterest, lack of understanding of the appeal of SNSs, and a dislike of engaging in presentation of the self through these sites as reasons for not engaging in SNS use.

From recent research in Australia with 69 out of 229 students (13 to 18 years (M 14.64 years, 40 out of 98 males, 29 out of 131 females) that reported not to use social networking sites the reasons underlying this non use were questioned.

The reasons were in order of importance:

  • No interest or motivation to use them
  • Social networking sites use was too time-consuming or detracted from time that they could be spending on alternate activities
  • Preference for other forms of communication, like phone or MSN or face to face contact
  • Preference for engaging in other activities. Such as watching TV, doing sports.
  • Concerns about their cybersafety.
  • Dislike of self-presentation online.
  • Some students mentioned other reasons like limited access, parental concern or influence by friends who were not using social networking sites

The authors state in their discussion

Strategies for more engagement of the teenage market would include the notions that SNS use can help to save time (e.g., interactions with friends but without the time taken to physically meet allows more time for studying and other activities) and that there are reliable mechanisms available to ensure the cybersafety of users (e.g., by programs that monitor and act on any reports of cyberbullying or stalking).

I’m not concerned about the lack of appeal of social networking sites for teenagers, more worried about having less time to explore and be active outside, what do you think?

Baker, R., & White, K. (2010). In Their Own Words: Why Teenagers

Use Social Networking Sites
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0016