Facebook: Will Teens Jump Ship with the Rapid Influx of Adults?

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Facebook was originally created for college students in 2004. In fact, when it first began, an email from an educational institution was required to join. When Facebook removed that requirement in 2006, many younger teens switched over from Myspace and Facebook grew rapidly. However, what many people, including myself, might not have originally predicted, Facebook has now become extremely popular with adults. And not just young adults, but baby boomers, many of whom have teenage children also on Facebook.

The fastest growing age group on Facebook is the 35-54 year olds. A 2009 Facebook Demographics and Statistics Report show that:
Facebook’s 35-54 year old demographic segment not only continued to grow the fastest, but it accelerated to a 276.4% growth rate over the past 6 months. That demo is DOUBLING roughly every two months.”

The second fastest growing group is the 55+ and the third is the 25-34 year olds. While there are still more 0-24 year olds on Facebook than there are of these other groups, their percentage of the overall Facebook population is constantly shrinking.

The real question is, will this matter? Will teenagers and college students care if adults, including their parents, become the majority of users on Facebook. After all, a member has to allow another member to be their friend for them to be able to see anything on their wall. So teens can do what my sons did to me and just not friend their parents and other adults and keep their privacy.

However, is the real issue really about privacy. I think that it might come down to the coolness factor. Even though the baby boomer generation has much more in common with their teenagers than the boomers had with their parents, it still isn’t all that cool to hang out in the same places. Once Facebook becomes known more as a place for adult social networking and high school reunions, will that continue to be a place where teens want to go?

Any change might not happen soon. Current teens may not leave. It might be the next goup to reach their teens that will look for another social networking website for their very own. Will a brand new website launch that will excite these teens? Or will they find one that already exists but just is not very popular in the United States yet, such as Hi5, the third largest social networking site behind MySpace and Facebook?

What do you think? What has been your experience with your teenagers on Facebook. If you are a teenager, how do you feel about the rising population of adults on what was once your domain?

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  1. My teenager and all her friends have left Facebook because of all of the adults peering into their lifes. I’m all about checking in on my teenager’s internet activity, however, I think it would be nice if their was a place on line that was just for teens. I liked when FB required a email from an educational institution. I hope someone wil develop a safe place on line for teens to hang out w/out adults everywhere.

  2. Really intersting topic. My daughter has both facebook and myspace and I she still enjoys them both. She says there are alot of adults on both myspace and facebook but she keeps hers private so only adults she wants are allowed to see her. Great topic though. Barb
    ps. I saw you on CM that’s where I saw about your post.

  3. I was wondering about this too.
    Facebook still seems to be cool.

  4. I didn’t join Facebook for the longest time because I thought it was more teens than adults. Well, after much convincing by my sister, I joined last week. I am surprised to see all my high school friends on Facebook and we’re in our 40’s.
    As for the privacy issue, there is an option to make your profile private as well as your friend list.

  5. So far, my son seems just fine with us geezers being on there. In fact probably 40-50 percent of his friends are adults such as family members, church members, and friends of the family. He doesn’t feel the need to jump ship yet, anyway. But if something new and bright and shiny came along and advertised itself as for “teens only”, then I could see him getting interested.

  6. I think facebook is more suited to the 20+ age range more than the likes of bebo and myspace. I think teenagers will leave any network in search of the latest most popular one.

  7. I joined FB to keep tabs on my son; in fact, a requirement of his joining was that he would have to list me as a friend. I am pretty much friends with all of his friends, and they are the ones who friended me! I actually have the reverse weirder feeling–do I really want my 15-year-old and his friends being voyeurs on MY FB page??

  8. I’m on facebook, also my younger siblings and my parents. We’re all cool about it because it has become our medium of keeping in touch when we are far apart. It also helps us communicate and find long lost classmates, friends, and relatives from all age range.

  9. Wow, I’m so glad I dropped by by way of Entrecard. I’m so impressed with your blog! The content is excellent. Great job!

  10. orient-lodge.com :

    I was on Facebook long before my kids. However, my second daughter, who has probably been most active with Facebook did unfriend me when she went off to college.

  11. Interesting to see an article on a thought I was pondering. I have two teenagers, 14 and 17, and two young adults, 24 and 26. I joined facebook to serve me, not check out my teens although not sure I would not of done that also if I had thought about it. I went to a yoga teacher training for a month and we all got really close and decided to stay connected thru facebook; we formed a group. I requested my kids to be my freind and they accepted. The funny part is they all did little subtle and some not so subtle jabs about my age, like “what the heck are doing on facebook”, and “doesn’t it make you feel young again”. The last one clearly implies that I am old. Somedays I think 48 is very old but most days I think it is a great number. I posted a piece about teen massage on my blog if you want to check out.

  12. My teen is TOTALLY bummed about this. Like, really. Yeah.

  13. Thank you all for your great comments. There doesn’t seem to be a general consensus. I wonder if the differences are due to age, sex, area of the country or just the type of teen.

  14. I am 35 and had my Facebook before my son did. He doesn’t seem to mind. We compete on all the games on there. It is quite fun for both of us.

  15. I was in college when Facebook came about and it was the coolest thing ever partially due to the fact that it was exclusive. Back then not even all schools were able to get in! I must say, once our younger siblings and parents began using it…the coolness factor split in half. And once parents began talking about how cool it was, that made it even worse. But overall Facebook is still awesome. Although change is uncomfortable at first, I’ve adjusted to it.

  16. My entire family is on Facebook, including my 75 year old mother. My kids are college and older and like having the whole family there. I am also friends with several teens from my church and a raft of teenage nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have curbed some of their more foolish profile action knowing that the whole family is watching. My new issue is talking with them face to face about online image and the ways it follows you. I’m a school librarian at a K-s school and so far no student has friended me, but I’m not quite sure what I will do with that either. I guess the kids are eally crimping my style, rather than the other way around.

  17. I have a Facebook account as well as both my children. We are also on Myspace. I think it’s a good idea for parents to monitor what their children are doing when they are on the internet but I’m also in favor of them having their own little place for people their age. I have talked to both of my children about the dangers of the internet and about giving out any information to strangers. My kids keep their accounts private and only add people they know personally. I think that is wise because of all the predators.

  18. I’m not sure if they will jump ship or not. My only child to friend me is my 18 yr old college student {who is about ready to delete me as such} because I’m too nosey & won’t “stay out of his life”. All 3 of my boys have friended both of my sisters & mother {I agree with you Cyndi} hasn’t curbed their profile action one bit! They don’t mind their friend status with family but do not appreciate the out loud wall comments from them LoL! In fact, the younger of the boys deleted his Grandma :o(
    I chose not to even add her {sorry Mom} because I didn’t really care to have her monitoring my activity at 44 years of age.
    I also do not have any of the younger boys or their friends {nor do I desire to have them as friends} I’m an adult & personally find it creepy that adults have minor children added as friends.

  19. I was wondering about this topic since use in my family of the “over 40 group” has accelerated the last few months. Teens are techno skilled enough to just change their security settings and still have “their place” without “baring” their every thought, note, video to the adults.

    I think it is a great social networking tool for all ages and in fact I feel like I know family members including my younger nieces and nephews better by being on here. It has made our family members closer and helped us stay in touch even though spread all over the country.

  20. I’m a teenager.
    But I’m not giving Faceboook up for anything!
    It’s always good for adults to be on the lookout for you.
    Just not ALWAYS. 🙂

  21. I am a teen and I love Facebook! It is a social site for everyone especially for us!! I am a teen writer for Radical Parenting which is a parenting blog from the kids’ perspective. We just posted a video titled: ‘Why do teens use social networking sites?”


    and would love for you to check it out and tell us what you think!

    Best Regards,
    G and the RAdical TEAMMM

  22. Thanks. I’m a big fan of Radical Parenting.

  23. My whole family uses Facebook. Its very useful.

  24. Grow taller naturally :

    I’m surprised to see adults segment is the fastest growing segment. But it also makes sense since FB has now been used as marketing channel as well. And most marketers are in that age segment

  25. It pisses me off that parents are on Facebook

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