UK Kids are Slowly Leaving Facebook, Says Ofcom Report

By Tom Pritchard on at

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to ditch Facebook. The many data breaches, the fact that it basically tracks everything you do, and the fact Mark Zuckerberg has been talking down to the world insisting we just don't understand what Facebook is all about. None of those reasons really matter to kids, really, but that hasn't stopped the social network's popularity from declining amongst the youth of the UK in 2018.

Ofcom just published its annual report, chronicling what services and devices kids have been using. According to the results 72 per cent of 12-15 year olds are using Facebook regularly, which is down from 74 per cent in 2017.  Not a huge dip from last year, but that figure was 96 per cent back in 2011. Considering that, and the fact only 31 per cent of 12-15 year olds consider Facebook their 'main' social network (down from 40 per cent in 2017), it's clear Facebook isn't very down with the kids. No wonder it's trying to develop a terrible-sounding meme platform to try and win them back.

But it's not all bad for Facebook, since Instagram is on the up with 65 per cent of kids using the service and 23 per cent naming it their main social network. That's up from 47 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, in 2017. Similarly WhatsApp use rose to 43 per cent (from 32 per cent), despite the fact the service decided to raise the minimum age to 16 in response to GDPR last year. So it's not all bad for Facebook.

Aside from the fact it still hasn't managed to kill off Snapchat. The app saw some growth among this age group, though only 31 per cent use it as their 'main' social network, which is down from 32 per cent the previous year.

There's a lot more to digest in Ofcom's report, including the fact that 69 per cent of children aged 12-15 have social media accounts. More startlingly 18 per cent of those aged 8-11 have one, despite the 13 year minimum age implemented by almost all of them. 4 per cent of kids aged 4-7 have a profile, alongside one per cent of kids aged 3-4. I assume this last group will be parents doing it for their kids, which is really weird. What does a three year old need Facebook or Twitter for?

You can read the full report here. [BBC News]