Teens Who Say No to Social Media

Some teenagers are opting out of the relentless pursuit of ‘likes’ on Facebook and Instagram—and they don’t feel like they’re missing out

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Media Outlet: Wall Street Journal

Future Tense fellow Christine Rosen wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about teens who choose not to use social media.

When 14-year-old Brian O’Neill of Washington, D.C., wanted to find out what his friends had been up to over summer vacation, he did something radical: He asked them. Unlike most kids his age, Brian isn’t on social media. He doesn’t scroll through his friends’ Instagram shots or post his own, nor does he use Facebook or Snapchat. “I don’t need social media to stay in touch,” he says.
Such abstention from social media places him in a small minority in his peer group. According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 92% of American teenagers (ages 13-17) go online daily, including 24% who say they are on their devices “almost constantly.” Seventy-one percent use Facebook, half are on Instagram, and 41% are Snapchat users. And nearly three-quarters of teens use more than one social-networking site. A typical teen, according to Pew, has 145 Facebook friends and 150 Instagram followers.

Author:

Christine Rosen was a Future Tense fellow. She is a writer and senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, where she covers the social impact of technology, bioethics, and the history of genetics.