Teens sharing less but learning more from Facebook, study finds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 October, 2013, 5:29am

Social networking site Facebook is losing its popularity as a communication tool among Hong Kong teenagers and is increasingly being used for self-promotion and information gathering, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 4,300 students attending Beacon College tutoring school in early October, found that 52 per cent of those polled used Facebook less this year compared with last year.

Only 10 per cent said their usage had increased. However, most youngsters said they would continue to use Facebook.

"In the past, Facebook was for communication and chatting. But now it's more for promotion or sharing of information," said Daricks Chan Wai-hong, mathematics professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, who helped with the survey. "There seems to be a shift in the usage of Facebook for students."

Chan said secondary students were born when Facebook was already established and it was considered a very normal platform of communication.

However, Hong Kong's youngsters seemed to be treating the social networking site as an information outlet. The majority of users now spend most of their Facebook time going through other people's profiles or reading up on news and posts of friends and famous people, said survey organiser Jane Leung.

Just under 60 per cent of those polled had not updated their status in the past month.

"It may be because Hong Kong youngsters are more self- conscious and have lower self-confidence than teenagers in western countries," said Chan.

Many now use smartphone apps sch as WhatsApp and Instagram for communication.