Forty six percent of teens report being online “almost constantly”

Recent study highlights teens’ online experiences and use of several social media platforms.

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Teens spend a lot of time on social media platforms. Findings from a recent study, “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022,” by Emily A. Vogels, Risa Gelles-Watnick and Navid Massarat with the Pew Research Center indicated that 46 percent of teens ages 13-17 reported being online “almost constantly.” This study compares the data gathered in 2014-2015 regarding teen and social media usage with current data from 2022. Many things have changed over the years regarding teen social media platforms and usage.

Much of this ongoing access has been made possible by the availability of smartphones. Although teens use a variety of devices for their online experiences (including smartphones, desk or laptop computers, tablets and game consoles), 95 percent indicated they use mobile devices to go online daily or more often. The study also breaks down the time that teens are on the different devices.

The Pew report takes a close look at teens’ use of technology and differences in their rates of use related to sex, race/ethnicity, age (younger and older teens), household income, parent educational attainment and living location (urban, suburban, rural). The study also examined young people’s use of the several social media platforms listed below. Highlights from the study include:

  • TikTok has rocketed in popularity and approximately 67% of teens 13 to 17 years of age use TikTok and 16% of all teens say they use it almost constantly.
  • Facebook has dropped in popularity for teens. Back in 2015, Facebook was the popular platform but now has fallen below YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.
  • Teen boys are more likely to use social media platforms like Youtube, Twitch and Reddit. Girls are more likely than boys to us TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.

Resources such as Common Sense Media can provide helpful guidance for parents and others as they explore what to know about social media sites and ways to help young people develop skills for safe, healthy, fun and educational online experiences. It is also important for adults to balance their concerns, fears and assumptions about young people’s online experiences with teens’ positive reports of these experiences. Parents should be aware of their teens online presence and help them navigate it for success. 

In addition to the sources mentioned above, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension also provides a variety of resources related to the positive development of children and adolescents. Among these is an initiative called Building Strong Adolescents, which is designed to help adults understand and learn about adolescent growth and approach this time of their life as an asset based time to learn and grow.

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