Poll: Teens migrating to Twitter (Update)

May 21, 2013 by Jennifer C. Kerr
A view of an iPhone in Washington Tuesday, May 21, 2013, showing the Twitter and Facebook apps among others. A new poll finds that teens are sharing more about themselves on social media. They're also moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the "oversharing" that they see on Facebook. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Twitter is booming as a social media destination for teenagers who complain about too many adults and too much drama on Facebook, according to a new study published Tuesday about online behavior. It said teens are sharing more personal information about themselves even as they try to protect their online reputations.

Teens told researchers there were too many adults on Facebook and too much sharing of teenage angst and inane details like what a friend ate for dinner.

"The key is that there are fewer adults, fewer parents and just simply less complexity," said Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center, one of the study's authors. "They still have their Facebook profiles, but they spend less time on them and move to places like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr."

In the poll, 94 percent of teens who are social media users have a profile on Facebook—flat from the previous year. Twenty-six percent of teen social media users were on Twitter. That's more than double the figure in 2011 of 12 percent.

"Facebook just really seems to have more drama," said 16-year-old Jaime Esquivel in an interview.

Esquivel said he still checks his Facebook account daily but isn't using it as regularly as in the past. He sees teens complaining on Twitter, too, so Esquivel has been using the photo-sharing service Instagram more often, posting a couple of pictures each day and communicating with friends. Facebook purchased Instagram last year.

In what may be a concern to parents, more than 60 percent of the teens with Twitter accounts said their tweets were public, meaning anyone on Twitter—friend, foe or stranger—can see what they write and publish. About one-quarter of kids said their tweets were private and 12 percent said they did not know whether their tweets were public or private.

Teens are also sharing much more than in the past.

More than 90 percent of teen social media users said they have posted a picture of themselves—up from 79 percent in 2006, the poll said. Seven in ten disclose the city or town where they live, up from about 60 percent over the same time period. And 20 percent disclose their cell phone number—up sharply from a mere two percent in 2006.

Even so, Parry Aftab, an attorney and online child safety advocate, says kids seem to be exercising more caution about their posts.

"They are sharing. This is their life," Aftab said in an interview. "But they tend to be sharing personal stuff far better than they ever did before."

The poll suggested teens are also taking steps to protect their reputations and mask information they don't want others to see. For example, nearly 60 percent of teen social media users said they have deleted or edited something that they had published. Just over half the teens have deleted comments from others on their profile or account.

The researchers surveyed 802 parents and their 802 teens. The poll was conducted between July 26 and September 30, 2012, on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Explore further: Net neutrality balancing act

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Parents, teens uneasy Facebook 'friends'

Nov 20, 2012

US parents are keeping a close eye on their teens' activities on Facebook and other social networks, provoking a "mixed" reaction from the youngsters, a new study showed Tuesday.

Pew's fact tank studies American social networking

Feb 16, 2013

(Phys.org)—The Pew Research Center, a "fact tank" on attitudes and trends that they identify, has issued a report from its Internet & American Life Project that slices and dices data on who uses social ...

Recommended for you

White House updating online privacy policy

2 hours ago

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Net neutrality balancing act

22 hours ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

Apr 16, 2014

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...