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By Anne Collier

Young people’s social media interests are changing right along with the media, according to the latest Speak Up study, which surveyed more than 325,000 students, along with parents, teachers and administrators. “Only 30% of middle school students and 39% of high school students now say they’re maintaining a social networking site,” says Project Tomorrow, which conducts the annual survey, “a decrease of approximately 40% since 2009.” Picking up the slack, predictably, are social media apps “such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine “with participation by 44% of students in grades 6-12.” Twitter, thought probably more on the mobile platform than the Web, is now only 11 percentage points behind Facebook among high school students, with 28% of them using Twitter.

Though games are equally popular among boys and girls, MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games) are a major social tool for middle school boys in particular, 42% of whom play them. The MMOGs figure for middle school girls is 26%. [See p. 7 of the study for more on games.] In other key social media findings…

  • Two-thirds of students in grades 7-12 use text messaging, “an increase of 37%” since the 2008 SpeakUp survey.
  • 28% of middle school students create and post videos
  • A quarter of all students follow favorite blogs and 12% have their own.
  • 38% of middle and high school students stream online TV shows.

VERY informal focus group

BTW, we ConnectSafely folk just met with about 40 student leaders and #icanhelp activists going into grades 10-12 at Kimball High in Tracy, Calif., and asked them about their social media use. We didn’t have time to go in-depth because the meeting was about #icanhelp and One Good Thing, but the vast majority use Snapchat and Instagram, and virtually all use Twitter. Five or six students said they use Tumblr (which people seem to use more anonymously than Twitter), and I think two students raised their hands when I asked if they actively use Facebook. [More to come on the Speak Up survey’s findings about mobile and other tech us for learning in and out of school.]

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