For teens, it has been an essential rite of passage: They turn 13 and join Facebook.

Since she signed up three years ago, friend requests and status updates are as much a part of Meera Kumar's life as homework and exams at Menlo School, the elite private school in leafy Atherton, Calif., where she's a 16-year-old sophomore.

But when her kid sister Anika turned 13 last year, she gave Facebook a pass.

"I guess I haven't been that interested in it," said Anika, who prefers sharing photos with friends on Instagram via her iPhone or video chatting with them onGoogle+.

Could Facebook be losing its cool?

With more than 900 million users, Facebook remains the most popular online hangout. But some young people are turning their attention elsewhere. They are checking out new mobile apps, hanging out on Tumblr and Twitter ,and sending plain-old text messages from their phones. Their goal is to hook up with smaller circles of friends and share their thoughts and feelings away from the prying eyes of Mom and Dad.

It's a very grown-up challenge for Facebook, which needs kids to continue to dominate social networking.

"Facebook is just not the big fad anymore," said Kim Franklin, a 15-year-old from Gaithersburg, Md., who does not have a Facebook account and prefers social media site Tumblr. "It was like everybody was constantly on there, but now not so much." Franklin said her 13-year-old sister Nicole hasn't signed up for a Facebook account either.

Meanwhile, Laura Franklin, the girls' 37-year-old mother, always has Facebook open on her computer while working on her parenting blog, Better in Bulk. That, she said, has led her teen daughters to dub Facebook a "mom thing."

Turns out the kids are right. A recent study from Nielsen found that nearly 3 of 4 U.S. mothers who went online from a home computer visited Facebook in March. Only 8.3% visited Tumblr, and 14% visited Twitter.

Source: Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-facebook-teens-20120531,0,5676320.story