While reports of social media’s negative impact on young people continue to grow, the amount of time teens are spending on social media is only increasing – with some teens now reporting their use is “almost constant.”
A new study by Pew Research surveyed nearly 1,500 teens across the US between September and October of 2023, revealing findings on their social media preferences, what platforms they use, and how often they’re using them.
Where are America’s youth spending all this time? YouTube claimed the top spot as the most widely used platform in the survey. Nine out of ten teens say they visit the video platform every day, and 1 in 5 teens report being on the site “almost constantly.”
TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram continue to enjoy widespread popularity among teens ages 13-17, with 63 percent using TikTok, 60 percent using Snapchat, and 59 percent being on Instagram. Conversely, the amount of teens using Facebook has declined significantly, dropping from 71 percent in 2014 to only about 33 percent of teens today.
Gender also played a role in the results. Sixty six percent of teen girls were more likely to say they use Instagram than boys, while a higher percentage of teen boys say they used Discord and Twitch. Boys also reported higher use of Reddit and YouTube than girls.
When surveyed by ethnicity, TikTok was the winner among Hispanics, with 32 percent saying they’re on the platform almost constantly. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok usage was higher among Black and Hispanic teens than reported by White teens. BeReal was the only platform in the survey with a greater following by White teens than Black or Hispanic teens.
Income levels also seemed to influence the social media habits of American teens. Those in lower income households reported slightly higher use of TikTok (71 percent) compared to teens in high income households at 61 percent.
Be Real was more popular with teens in households earning $75,000 or more per year. Only 1 in 10 teens with household incomes less than $75k annually said they use this social media platform.
Despite income disparities and differences of gender, age, or race, 95 percent of US teens surveyed had access to a smartphone, laptop, or gaming console. Are we making it simply too easy for our youth to wile away their time in the digital realm? What might such a drastic turn from pastimes of previous generations wield for our social future? Continue reading here.