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Gen Z Walking Away From Social Media

Photograph by Instagram

Kate Dwyer, Teen Vogue contributor, delivered some kind of surprising news. Surprising, that is, if you're a millennial or, shudder, a member of Gen X. Her generation, the Zs, are kind of meh regarding social media. Sure, they're setting up accounts on all the platforms just like their big sisters and moms (and grandmothers!), but they're not as obsessed as the more senior users of the Big 3: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Generation Z, born between 1996 and 2010, and even some millennials, are more sparing in how they use social media. For some, even some pretty famous Gen Zers, they don't use social media at all.

Dwyer cites studies that show a rise in the number of kids between 12 and 17 who were using social media in 2006 (55 percent of all teens) compared to the higher number who use it now (76 percent). Despite the overall increase in those with accounts, there's been a shift in which platforms they're on and how frequently they use them.

Nearly half of teens on social media use Snapchat and 41 percent are on Instagram. More than 70 percent of social media using teens are on Facebook, but here's the catch: They have, on average, 145 friends. Probably, Dwyer and the studies' authors speculate, they actually know all the people on their friends list.

A recent New York Times article about this youngest generation offered that Gen Z is defined by its appreciation for, get this, privacy. "As far as privacy, they are aware of their personal brand, and have seen older Gen Yers screw up by posting too openly," Dan Gould, a New York ad agency's trend consultant, told the Times.

Privacy? That's an interesting twist, though possibly understandable. After all, Gen Z are the children of mom bloggers, smartphones' first big enthusiasts and the developers responsible for ubiquitous cameras.

They're also the kids of parents whose fear of the Internet unknown may have bred more caution and authenticity than the folks before them.

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