How Teens use Social Media & Technology


According to a new study from Pew Research Center, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly.

Access is facilitated by mobile devices

Nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access1 to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type.

These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often.

Facebook is the most popular

Facebook remains a dominant force in teens’ social media ecosystems, even as Instagram and Snapchat have risen into a prominent role in teens’ online lives. It remains the most used social media site among American teens ages 13 to 17 with 71% of all teens using the site, even as half of teens use Instagram and four-in-ten use Snapchat.

71% of teens use more than one social network site

A majority of teens — 71% — report using more than one social network site out of the seven platform options they were asked about.

Girls dominate social media; boys are more likely to play video games

Teenage girls use social media sites and platforms — particularly visually-oriented ones — for sharing more than their male counterparts do. For their part, boys are more likely than girls to own gaming consoles and play video games.

Middle and upper income teens lean toward Instagram and Snapchat

The survey data reveals a distinct pattern in social media use by socio-economic status. Teens from less well-off households (those earning less than $50,000) are more likely than others to say they use Facebook the most: 49% of these teens say they use it most often, compared with 37% of teens from somewhat wealthier families (those earning $50,000 or more).

Teens from more affluent households are somewhat more likely than those from the least affluent homes to say they visit Snapchat most often, with 14% of those from families earning more than $75,000 saying Snapchat is their top site, compared with 7% of those whose families earn less than $30,000 annually. Twitter shows a similar pattern by income, with the wealthiest teens using Twitter more than their least well-to-do peers.

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