UK teens moving back to Facebook

Social networks are experiencing a subtle revolt from their youngest and traditionally earliest adopters of the medium in the UK , according to the latest results from comScore.

While more people on the 15-24 age group are visiting social networks now than a year ago, the average user in the age group is spending less time overall on social networking sites.

The number of 15-24 year olds visiting social networking sites reached 6.8 million in June, a 14% jump from the previous year, yet engagement time is down by 9%.  

While statistics suggest that the teenage and early 20s set are moving away from deep engagement in sites such as Twitter due to the popularity of the sites outside of their peer age group, comScore counters those claims stating the skew is due to activity being concentrated on one social network rather than a cluster.

“Recent reports have suggested that 15-24 year olds in the UK are moving away from social networking sites because they’re no longer cool as older users have encroached on their virtual space. comScore research indicates that is simply not the case,” said comScore Europe MD Mike Read.

“What does appear to be happening is that younger users are beginning to consolidate around Facebook and are spending less time on competing sites,” he reveals.

Statistics show that younger users are increasingly moving back toward Facebook as their primary social networking destination. Despite that fact, Facebook has a substantially older user profile than Bebo and MySpace.

“It’s likely that the age of one’s peers on a social networking site is not a critical factor in how 15-24 year olds will spend their time online. But as people’s digital media lives become increasingly fragmented, users are craving the simplicity of fewer platforms – and the dominant social networking platform right now appears to be Facebook.”

Some 77%  of Facebook visitors are age 25 or older compared to 65% of Bebo visitors and 69% of MySpace visitors.