Why do our kids hate Facebook?

Eight reasons why children are turning against online sharing – a text version of webshow the Red Couch

Kids’ demand for online privacy will shake up the Internet in the next decade. The era of data sharing will be over and children are leading this revolution.

Stats backs this up. Only 11 per cent of American teens share a lot of themselves online, down from 18 per cent a year ago. 

So why the generational shift?

1. Kids hate Facebook. Posing as a forum for making friends and sharing links, the social media empire has become no more than a wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor corridor of billboards. You give away everything about your life – and get little in return. It’s similar to the shy kid standing up in the class-room and reading out his personal diary in the vain hope that the popular kids will accept him into their gang. But he doesn’t get likes. He doesn’t get shares. He just gets ads.

2. Kids see a website as a cafe or a shop. Visiting a site is a reflection of their personality. They don’t want to hang out in the same locale as their parents or teachers. To be seen inside an uncool site is the equivalent of being caught trying on clothes in Wal Mart.

3. Too much of kids’ personal information is already online. A teen’s experience of the internet is similar to their attitude towards a family photo album. It’s full of pictures showing them looking and acting worse than they do today – as a baby with a face smothered in yoghurt or a naked toddler falling over a garden hose. Meanwhile adults continue to use Facebook – why? because they are getting older and greyer and their lives are over. Images from the past remind them they once had hopes, dreams and beauty. This is why most of our profile pictures are from five to ten years ago. And we forget to change them, oh yes, we forget.

4. Who was the coolest boy in school? The one who aggressively told you about what he had for breakfast, discussed the intricate details of last night’s TV or about how he once stuck his hamster in a toaster? No. It was the boy who sat at the back of the class and said nothing. James Dean didn’t post photos of ‘A dead shark. On a subway. In NYC’ and Marlon Brando didn’t share ‘Turkish Airlines Euroleague Epic Pool Dunk’. If you post online, you don’t have a life. You borrow other people’s. 

5. Adults are evil. The web is a giant adult trying to trick children. Like a global paedophile quizzing them, finding out their wants and then building a personality that coaxes kids into its web of influence. Kids are mistrustful of anyone asking questions. And the web can’t stop asking questions. So they will only access sites where they give away as little as possible. 

6. Kids change. Their likes today will be different from yesterday. Their opinions will transform. Adolescence is a journey of glorious mistakes. They – like us – have the right to keep their disasters private.

7. Teens prize the thrall of mystique. They want to appear more strange, more formidable and more unreachable than they are. Now they have found ways to create this online – by using elitist sites for select members. Cliques are now virtual.

8. The world is terrible. The Internet doesn’t make is better. Teens understand this. Sharing doesn’t mean an embrace of transparency and connectivity – it means an open invitation to ridicule. This is the logic of the high school. And the adult world is no more than a massive high school, but without the valedictorian hope of a brilliant future, a dazzling career or a fulfilling love affair.


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