In time for the winter holidays and family gatherings, Facebook on Thursday released a collection of data trends it has amassed about how self-identified family members use the world’s largest social network to communicate.
But families are an especially controversial subject when it comes to Facebook, more specifically, use of Facebook by young children. Although Facebook itself asks that members be 13 years-of-age or older to use the website, it has acknowledged that its own warnings do not prevent young children from using the website and in June was reported to be mulling the creation of a special under-13 child-friendly section of the website, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But Facebook on Thursday sidestepped those issues, instead various findings of its internal data tracking family member interactions for those 13-and-up, the most interesting of which include:
Daughters used Facebook to say in touch with parents more than sons
Daughters on Facebook engaged with their parents more than sons, both in terms of leaving wall posts on parents’ profiles (first graph) and in terms of comments left on parents’ posts and other activity (second graph).
The oldest and youngest children initiate Friendships with parents
Facebook’s internal data indicates that among self-professed family members, it’s the youngest children, around age 13, and the oldest on the social network, over age 40, who request to be “Friends” with their parents.
When it comes to children between the ages of 20 to 40, the parents do most of the “Friend” initiation. The trend was mirrored in other types of interactions (see graphs above).
Facebook parents are proud of their children
Facebook also created word clouds showing the most-often used words and phrases that parents used when communicating with their children on Facebook, broken down by gender of the child. The major point of overlap for sons and daughters was that parents on Facebook were likely to say they were “proud” of their children.
Here’s Facebook’s word cloud representing parental communication with daughters on the social network:
And here’s Facebook’s word cloud for parents’ messages to their sons:
Facebook’s data science team concludes: “We are happy to see that our data surfaces the affection, care, and closeness of family ties.”
Still no word though on the section for under-13-year-olds. TPM has reached out to Facebook for comment and will update when we receive it.