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Young people using Facebook for family, study says

Young people aren’t using Facebook for liking, poking or sharing anymore.

It seems they’re using it for family.

The Global Social Media Impact Study surveyed young social media users and found Facebook is a tool for staying in touch with family, according to The Vancouver Sun.

“Young people now see the site as ‘uncool’ and keep their profiles live purely to stay in touch with older relatives, among whom it remains popular,” wrote Matthew Sparkles for The Vancouver Sun.

The Pew Research Center recently published a social media survey, which showed Facebook is still the mostly used social media application on the market. In fact, among adults, there’s been a 4 percent increase from 67 to 71 percent of Facebook users, the study showed.

Daniel Miller, a professor of material culture at the University College London who helped with research for The Global Social Media Impact study, wrote in an article for The Conversation that Facebook is “morphing into a different beast.” It’s no longer about sharing things with friends and posting on people’s timelines. Instead, it’s about staying in touch with family, he wrote.

“Facebook has become the link with older family, or even older siblings who have gone to university,” Miller wrote. “To prevent overgrazing as others beasts have occupied its terrain, Facebook has to feed off somewhere else. It has thereby evolved into a very different animal.”

While Facebook is for family interaction, many young users are opting for sleeker and more stylish apps to stay in touch with friends, Miller wrote.

Miller also explained that Facebook’s privacy policy and connections to advertising have turned away some users. Other social media apps aren’t as controlling, Miller wrote.

“Young people have turned to Snapchat, a picture-sharing service that allows you to send pictures that disappear seconds after they have been sent,” Miller wrote.

The Washington Post reported that young users are finding other social media applications to use for different purposes: “Americans are diversifying the social networks that they use,” wrote Hayley Tsukayama for The Washington Post.

Many young adults, even though they don’t like what Facebook has become, will stay on the social media website to comfort their parents who use Facebook to keep track on what their kids are doing, the study said.

“In other words,” wrote Tsukayama, “teens are using Facebook, but not for the same reasons that they once did."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com Twitter: @hscribner