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Three things we've learned about social media in 2018

The growth of social media shows no signs of stopping, but there are important changing trends that are vital to keep up with and understand. Parent Zone's Cliff Manning explores the numbers. 

Kepios have produced a report for We Are Social and Hootsuite that provides a fascinating snapshot of  the popularity of social media platforms around the world.

For those of you who have the time, the full report contains all kinds of detail about the size and audience type of all the popular platforms with in-depth analysis for every country.

For everyone else, here is a quick look at some of the mind-boggling numbers and things we can learn about social media use.

Social media is getting MORE popular

Despite increasing concerns about privacy and campaigns like #DeleteFacebook, there is clearly no drop in the numbers of people using the platforms. In fact, growth is actually accelerating. There are now 4.087 billion people using the internet. Between March 2017 and March 2018, 390 million people joined a social platform – an annual rate of growth that is 8 percent faster than it was in January 2018. In the UK alone, one million new people joined Facebook in just three months. This means about 12 people currently join a social media platform every second!

Facebook is still massive – but not so much for young people

There are around 2 billion people on Facebook. While that number keeps accelerating, the number of 13-to-17 year-olds on the platform seems to be falling. There are around 10 million fewer 13-to-17 year olds on Facebook in April 2018 than there was in January 2018.

Facebook is becoming older. The median age of people using Facebook is just under 30 but as 20 million over-45s joined in the three months of 2018, the average age of people on the platform is steadily going up.

Instagram is becoming massive – especially with young people

Instagram’s 813 monthly active users are still dwarfed by Facebook, but it is growing rapidly. Instagram grew by a 36% increase in 12 months and there are now 58,000,000 13-to-17 year-olds using the photo/video sharing app. Selena Gomez is the popular Instagrammer – with 135 million people following her daily posts.

What this means for parents and carers…

Numbers and statistics don’t ever tell the full story. However, these statistics provide parents with a reminder of just how popular social media is with all ages and in all countries.

With 3.3 billion people using social media platforms around the world, social media use and all of the positive and negative impacts that has is not just a young people’s issue. However, the way young people use social media, the platforms they choose and the communities they belong to are different from adults. And while it is important that children have their own space to explore and develop resilience, it is vital that parents are familiar with these new spaces and trends.

Parent Zone can help you stay up to date and give you the practical advice and tools parents, carers and professionals need to ensure that children and young people can thrive in the ever-expanding online world.

Are you interested in the future of young people online? Come to Digital Families 2018 conference on 10 October 2018 are join the conversation about futureproofing.