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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media | Young people - The Guardian

"Generation Z has grown up online – so why are a surprising number suddenly turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?" observes Sirin Kale, London-based journalist specialising in women's rights, politics, music, lifestyle, and culture.

Mary Amanuel, who does not use social media.
Photo: Alecsandra Raluca Drăgoi for the Guardian

For 17-year-old Mary Amanuel, from London, it happened in Tesco. “We were in year 7,” she remembers, “and my friend had made an Instagram account. As we were buying stuff, she was counting the amounts of likes she’d got on a post. ‘Oooh, 40 likes. 42 likes.’ I just thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’”

Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn’t want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. “Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: ‘Can I have your number to text you?’ Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: ‘I don’t really want to be swept up in that.’” For 15-year-old Emily Sharp, from Staines in Surrey, watching bullying online was the final straw. “It wasn’t nice. That deterred me from using it.”

It is widely believed that young people are hopelessly devoted to social media. Teenagers, according to this stereotype, tweet, gram, Snap and scroll. But for every young person hunched over a screen, there are others for whom social media no longer holds such an allure. These teens are turning their backs on the technology – and there are more of them than you might think...

The fact that Gen Z have had their every move documented online since before they could walk, talk, or even control their bowels helps explain their antipathy to social media: it makes sense for them to strive for privacy, as soon as they reach the age when they have a choice over their online image.

“I’ve seen parents post pictures of their child’s first potty online,” says Amy Binns of the University of Central Lancashire. “You think: ‘Why are you doing this to your child? They wouldn’t want this to be public.”

Gen Z has an interest in privacy that subtly sets them apart. “Young people want to get away from the curtain-twitching village, where everyone knows everything about you,” Binns says. So while today’s teens spend a lot of time online, they don’t actually share that much personal information. And when they do share, it’s strategic. “You’re painting a picture of who you are and your image,” says Binns. “It’s your own shop window or brand.”
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Source: The Guardian


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