Pew Research has published a new report that examines social media usage trends among US teens. The organization found that a whopping 95 percent of them use YouTube, while 19 percent are on the platform “almost constantly.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, two-thirds (67 percent) said they used TikTok, with 16 percent claiming they are on the app “almost constantly.” The third most-popular social media platform among teens is Instagram, per Pew, with 62 percent using it. A tenth say they use it almost all the time — despite the app occasionally telling them to take a break. A previous poll conducted in 2014-15 found that 52 percent were using Instagram (Pew didn’t ask about YouTube usage for that survey and TikTok didn’t exist at the time).
Snapchat also rose among teens, with 59 percent using it in 2022, compared with 41 percent in the previous poll. Facebook was the top social media app among teens seven years ago, with 71 percent of them using it, but that figure has dropped to 32 percent. Teen adoption of Twitter (down from 33 percent to 23 percent) and Tumblr (14 percent to five percent) has fallen over the same period too.
The 2014-15 poll didn’t ask about Twitch, WhatsApp or Reddit. These days, a fifth of teens use Twitch, 17 percent are on WhatsApp and 14 percent are accessing Reddit. For what it’s worth, the earlier poll suggested 33 percent of teens used Google+, while a quarter used Vine. This time around, Pew did not ask teens about their use of Discord or social gaming spaces such as Fortnite.
Pew surveyed 1,316 teens aged 13 to 17 (as well as one of their parents) in April and May. It found that boys were more likely to use YouTube, Twitch and Reddit and girls were more likely to say they access TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. More Black and Hispanic teens said they used TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp than white teens.
Even though over half (54 percent) of teens said they’d find it hard to give up social media, 36 percent admitted they spent too much time on the platforms. Around 55 percent said their usage levels were “about right.” Meanwhile, 97 percent of teens now use the internet every day, with 46 percent saying they’re online almost all the time.
The poll found that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone (up from 73 percent in 2014-15), while 90 percent can access a desktop or laptop computer, up from 87 percent in the previous survey. Curiously, the percentage of teens who say they have access to a gaming console has fallen slightly, from 81 percent to 80 percent.