Facebook use is declining among Irish 16-24-year-olds

24 Mar 2014

New research, which reveals 61pc of Irish people now carry smartphones, has also found that Facebook usage is declining among 16-24-year-olds, down 5pc to 89pc. The reason cited for the decline is it is no longer cool.

The annual Eircom Household Sentiment Survey of over 1,000 people by Behaviours & Attitudes found 89pc of Irish adults now carry a device that can access the internet on the go and the average number of online devices in the house has increased from three to six in the past year.

This device surge is due to the popularity of tablet computers, which have grown from 25pc of Irish homes having one last year to 40pc of homes having one today.

The report points out that children as young as 10 are now influencing technology decisions in the home – with a third of adults believing this pressure begins younger among kids under the age of nine.

Children between the ages of five and 17 are informing parents on what brands and types of mobile phones to buy (42pc), what TV service (56pc) and the type of broadband they should have in the home (51pc).

Some 83pc of parents agree that their children know more about technology than they do, rising to 92pc among parents of children between 13 and 17.

Among commuters, digital devices are beginning to replace newspapers or books on the journey to and from the office. Three in five commuters (63pc) now use digital devices while commuting, rising to 93pc among students.

Many use the devices to keep up with the news (60pc), study or work (29pc), and more than 50pc engage in social media.

“The surge in ownership of online devices ‘on the go’ is quite remarkable – we truly are now a nation of smartphone users,” said Lisa Comerford, consumer marketing director at Eircom.  

“What’s also intriguing is the rate of change in social media usage, as some sites become popular and others wane.”

The decline of Facebook … blame ‘sharenting’

Social media is going through something of a shake-up and almost half (46pc) of 16-24-year-olds admit to a fear of missing out (FOMO) on something when they are not online.

As a result, 15pc admit they are online practically every hour they are awake.

Reasons why Facebook usage is declining among the 16-24-year-old cohort include it is no longer cool (30pc), while more than a quarter believe it took up too much of their time. Some 26pc say they were driven away by the bombardment of advertising.

The social networking site saw a rise in usage by the over 35 age group, growing from 34pc to 40pc.

A possible mitigating factor for the steady decline in usage of Facebook by 16-24-year-olds could possibly be attributed to the rise of ‘sharenting’, a new phenomenon whereby parents share information on social media about their family’s daily life.

The research indicates that way too much ‘sharenting’ actually occurs on Facebook, with three out of four people complaining this is boring them to tears.

Some 73pc say sharenting may be fun for the proud parents but is wrecking everybody else’s buzz.

So where are the embarrassed youth going? Some 63pc of 16-24-year-olds are now using Snapchat, while 48pc are using Twitter.

“Sharenting is a fascinating trend that has gripped social media – and what is particularly interesting to see is the number of people in denial,” said David Coleman, clinical psychologist.

“The fact that we all see this on a daily basis means that there are almost certainly more than 5pc of ‘sharenters’ out there – they just don’t realise (or admit) that they are doing it,” he added.

eircom infographic

Log out image at top via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years