When you think of online games, Facebook wouldn’t be the first one to pop into your mind, yet the reality is Facebook is one big game that nearly everyone you know is playing at the same time. This "game" began in 2004 as a way to connect college students, but it soon blossomed into the world’s largest, most valuable and most utilized social media tool. Just who is responsible for the jaw-dropping 4.5 million Facebook "likes" counted every day? No, you won’t find pimply-faced teen gamers on a quest for level domination firmly planted in front of the keyboard. You’ll find a more hardcore user, armed with a death stare and high-waisted jeans. Yes, you guessed it—Facebook is the hotspot for moms.
I’m sure the idea of Facebook transforming into Mommybook wasn’t what the young innovator Mark Zuckerberg had in mind when he created the social networking site. Of the reported 665 million daily Facebook users, however, moms can be found using Facebook significantly more often than their teens who are shunning the commercialized site for less obtrusive social media options like Twitter.
“I'm 47 and I probably check in on Facebook at least 15 times a day,” admits Kara Buntin, a Richmond, Virginia mom who runs a Facebook business page for her custom cake business. Buntin’s 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter both have Facebook pages that they rarely use. “My daughter said that she uses Facebook to look at pictures, but she and her friends are aware of the privacy issues on it, so they don't post messages to each other in public very often,” Buntin shares.
Moms, more than teens, need a social outlet.
While her daughter reports using Google Chat with her friends more often, Buntin’s 17-year-old son’s online activities completely sidestep Facebook and are centered around a game called Gary’s Mod, a sandbox world where players build virtual environments and interact with other players.
Concerns over privacy issues and a keen interest in learning how to create virtual environments rather than simply using them aren’t the only reasons teens are turned off by Facebook.
“My teen daughter doesn’t like Facebook because there is no filter,” shares Tameka Anderson, a Snellville, Ga. mom who runs a copywriting business. Anderson says her 17-year-old daughter doesn’t like Facebook so she doesn’t use it often, instead choosing to frequent Tagged.com for one important reason: “It’s not Facebook.”
The intentional side-eyes and frozen smirks of her children won’t stop Anderson from engaging in a highly active Facebook life. Anderson has been using the social media site since 2009 for both business and personal reasons—which include keeping an eye on her children’s activities and adding her share of giggles and rants in private groups and on the more public rolling timeline.
“My favorite group to snoop around and be wild in is Mental Penetration, a secret group,” Anderson says. “When I want to debate I go to the Black Fathers group, and when I would like to offer advice I go to the Single Parents group.”