A New Study Found That Teens Use YouTube the Most, Snapchat the Most Often

Facebook? Not so much

50 percent of teenage girls identified themselves as near-constant online users, versus 39 percent of teenage boys
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Facebook use continues to plummet among teens aged 13 through 17, according to Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018, a new study from Pew Research Center released Thursday.

Pew surveyed 743 U.S. teens from March 7 through April 10, and it found that 85 percent of them use YouTube, followed by Instagram (72 percent), Snapchat (69 percent), Facebook (51 percent), Twitter (32 percent), Tumblr (9 percent), Reddit (7 percent) and “none of the above” (3 percent).

Snapchat was the social platform they used most often, at 35 percent, followed by YouTube (32 percent), Instagram (15 percent), Facebook (10 percent), Twitter (3 percent), none of the above (3 percent), Reddit (1 percent) and Tumblr (less than 1 percent).

Other findings by Pew included:

  • Lower-income teens (22 percent) were more likely to say Facebook was the platform they used most often, with just 4 percent of higher-income teens responding in that fashion.
  • Girls were more likely than boys to say Snapchat was the social platform they used most often (42 percent versus 29 percent), while the opposite is true for YouTube (39 percent of boys, 25 percent of girls).
  • White teens (41 percent) were more likely than Hispanic (29 percent) or African-American (23 percent) teens to say Snapchat is the social platform they use most often. African-American teens (26 percent) were far more likely than white teens (7 percent) to tap Facebook.
  • 31 percent of teens said social media has had a mostly positive effect on people their age, while 24 percent said the effect has been mostly negative. 45 percent believe social media has had neither a positive nor negative effect on young people.
  • 95 percent of teens have smartphones or access to one, up from 73 percent in 2014-15.
  • 88 percent of respondents said they have access to desktop or laptop computers at home. When divided by household income, 96 percent of teens living in households that bring in $75,000 or more per year have access to home computers, with that number dropping to 75 percent for those in households with annual incomes below $30,000.
  • Teens who have a parent with a bachelor’s degree or more were more likely to have access to computers (94 percent) than those whose parents have a high school diploma or less (78 percent).
  • 45 percent of respondents said they are online “almost constantly,” nearly double the 24 percent figure from Pew’s 2014-15 survey. 44 percent said they go online several times per day.
  • 50 percent of teenage girls identified themselves as near-constant online users, versus 39 percent of teenage boys.
  • Hispanic teens (54 percent) were more likely than white teens (41 percent) to say they use the internet almost constantly.

  • 90 percent of teens play videos games (on computers, game consoles or smartphones), and 84 percent have access to game consoles at home. Those figures are 97 percent and 92 percent, respectively, for boys, and 83 percent and 75 percent, respectively, for girls.

Pew research associate Monica Anderson, lead author of the report, said in a release introducing its findings, “The social media environment among teens is quite different from what it was just three years ago. Back then, teens’ social media use mostly revolved around Facebook. Today, their habits revolve less around a single platform. At the same time that we’ve seen this shift, teens are more digitally connected than ever—nearly all teens have access to a smartphone, and more than four in 10 say they are online on a near-constant basis.”