'Facebook is totally dying," said Katie Johnson, 14, a McClatchy High
School freshman. "It's mostly just adults now," she said.
Johnson hardly ever checks Facebook, and doesn't get a lot of text messages.
"I usually only text my mom," said Johnson, who used to text a lot. Her favorite way to contact friends now? Instagram and Snapchat.
Longing to appeal to 14-to-17-year-olds, MTV recently conducted a nationwide marketing study to uncover their fast-evolving technology habits.
The results were surprising: Teens 14-17 are slimming down their social networks and seeking out more private environments than Facebook to share, whether via Snapchat or locked Twitter and Instagram feeds.
MTV found that teens in this age group -- so-called young millennials -- are also "taking time to disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs."
Individuals in that age group "increasingly 'monotask,' " according to an MTV news release.
Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and expert on the psychology of technology use, said he was intrigued but not completely convinced by all of the study's findings.
MTV claimed that 82 percent of young millennials monotask when stressed. Rosen, however, observed the opposite phenomenon in his research.
Rosen's team went into homes of middle school, high school and college-age students and observed them working on "something important" -- their choice -- for 15 minutes.
They found that on average, subjects could accomplish only three minutes of studying before being distracted and switching tasks, even though they knew they were being observed. The major culprits? Social media and texting.
Rosen's team also recorded GPAs and found some disturbing trends. Those who used social media more, as well as those who preferred to task-switch -- Rosen dislikes the phrase "multitasking" -- were worse students.
Checking Facebook just once during the 15-minute experiment resulted in a direct correlation with a lower GPA.
"It doesn't mean Facebook is making them stupid," said Rosen. "It's because they are on it all the time. They check every 15 minutes or less. It holds a very powerful draw."
Rosen explained that the strong desire to check Facebook, other social media and text messages is associated with the brain's release of GABA, epinephrine, serotonin and dopamine -- the same chemicals associated with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The brain triggers a drive to check technological inputs constantly to reduce buildup of these chemicals. If there is no release, then anxiety increases, said Rosen.
In another study, Rosen looked at the anxiety levels of college students who had to go without their cellphones. The phones of one group were confiscated, and another group was told to put their phones face down underneath their desk.
At first, anxiety levels increased all around. After 20 minutes, however, anxiety levels tapered off among the group that kept their phones. But among the confiscated group? Their anxiety levels skyrocketed.
"Adults think of technology as a tool. Kids don't think of technology as a tool. Just like we don't think about air -- it's something we use every day and we take for granted -- they think of it as air, as an appendage, literally part of
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