×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube Is No. 1 Internet Platform Among U.S. Teens, While Facebook Usage Has Plummeted (Study)

About 45% of American kids 13-17 say they are online 'almost constantly,' according to Pew Research Center

Google’s YouTube takes the crown as the most widely used internet platform by American teens today — while Facebook’s popularity in the demo has slumped dramatically in the last three years.

That’s according to a new report on U.S. teenagers’ social-media use from the Pew Research Center, based on surveys conducted in the spring of 2018. Among the study’s other findings, the proportion of teens (ages 13-17) who say they are online “almost constantly” has nearly doubled since its 2014-15 study on the subject, to 45% on the most recent survey. That’s sure to fuel concerns that social media and smartphones are contributing to mental-health problems associated with heavy internet use — including forms of addiction.

YouTube leads the pack of internet platforms for Gen Z. About 85% of kids 13 to 17 say they use the video service, followed by Instagram (72%), Snapchat (69%), Facebook (51%) and Twitter (32%).

However, Snapchat is the most-used platform for U.S. teens. On Pew’s survey, 35% cited Snapchat as the app they use most often, followed by YouTube at 32% and Instagram at 15%. Just 10% of U.S. teens say Facebook is their most-used online platform.

Facebook’s “teen problem” is not a surprise to industry watchers. For example, eMarketer in February estimated that in 2018, less than half of U.S. internet users ages 12 to 17 will use Facebook via any device at least once monthly.

As measured by Pew’s surveys, the significant fall from favor for Facebook among teenagers comes as Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram have gained ground. On the Pew Research Center’s 2014-15 teen social-media survey, 71% of teenagers said they Facebook; at the time, 52% used Instagram and 41% used Snapchat. (YouTube was not included on the 2014-15 study.)

Another significant change in the last few years: The vast majority of U.S. teens now have a smartphone. About 95% of American teenagers have (or have access to) a smartphone, up from the 73% in 2014-15, according to Pew Research Center.

As a result, teens are using the internet a lot more. While 24% of teens said they’re online “almost constantly” in the 2014-15 survey, that jumped to 45% in 2018. In addition, 44% of teens surveyed this year said they go online several times a day.

With the time spent using internet apps surging, especially among U.S. teens, health-care professionals and researchers have grown worried that overuse can lead to debilitating problems — including depression, anxiety and even suicide. That’s led to calls for Silicon Valley companies to address the issue with new features and controls to prevent device addiction or dependency.

How critical are the problems introduced by social media? Teens themselves have mixed views. On Pew Research Center’s 2018 survey, 45% said the effects of social media have been neither positive nor negative; 31% said social media’s effects have been mostly positive and the remaining 24% feel it has been “mostly negative.” Just 12% said social media has had a negative effect on teens giving in to peer pressure, while smaller shares expressed concerns about psychological or emotional issues.

Meanwhile, 90% of teens said they play video games, whether that’s on PCs, game consoles or smartphones. Usage skews male: 97% of boys said they play video games of some kind compared with 83% of girls.

The Pew Research Center’s full “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018” report is available at this link.

The report is based on surveys with 1,058 parents of teens and interviews with 743 teenagers. The interviews were conducted online and by telephone from March 7-April 10, 2018, by NORC, an independent research org at the University of Chicago. The margin of error is 5 percentage points for the full sample of teens surveyed and 4.5 percentage points for the full sample of parent respondents.

More Digital

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

  • Dish Testing Flixpert Content Recommendation Service

    Dish Tests Movie Recommendations App Flixpert (EXCLUSIVE)

    Dish and its corporate sibling EchoStar have quietly been testing a movie recommendations platform called Flixpert, Variety has learned. Flixpert promises to help people find movies to watch through recommendations from friends and trusted contacts; Dish has been testing mobile apps for the service with a few hundred users. Online footprints suggest that Flixpert has [...]

  • Craig Hunegs WB

    Craig Hunegs to Exit Warner Bros. TV Group and Digital Networks (EXCLUSIVE)

    After nearly 25 years in the Warner Bros. family, Craig Hunegs is exiting his post as head of business for Warner Bros. TV Group and president of the studio’s digital networks wing. Hunegs said he has been discussing his exit with Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara for the past several months. At a time of [...]

  • Google Placeholder

    Google Accelerates Google+ Shutdown Following New Privacy Mishap

    Google will shutter its struggling social network Google+ sooner than previously announced: The company said Monday that Google+ will shut down in April of 2019. It also disclosed a new security vulnerability that briefly exposed personal data of some 52.5 million Google+ users. The bug, which was introduced to Google+ in November, allowed developers to [...]

  • Eddie Lazarus Sonos

    Sonos Hires Tribune General Counsel Eddie Lazarus as Chief Legal Officer

    Smart speaker maker Sonos has hired former Tribune exec Eddie Lazarus as its new chief legal officer. Lazarus will be in charge of all legal, regulatory, compliance and SEC reporting issues, among other things. Prior to joining Sonos, Lazarus worked as general counsel and chief strategy officer for Tribune Media. Before that, he was chief of [...]

  • Rhapsody, Sony Music to Launch Spotify

    Rhapsody, Sony Music to Launch Spotify Competitor in Japan

    Rhapsody and Sony Music Entertainment today announced a partnership to launch what they describe as the first on-demand, high-resolution streaming music service in Japan. Rhapsody International is providing its “Powered by Napster” platform including a set of systems, tools and APIs to allow SMEJ to quickly launch and bring its on-demand service to market. The service, [...]

  • Vidcon Sarah Tortoreti

    VidCon Has a New Marketing Chief: Nickelodeon's Sarah Tortoreti

    VidCon tapped Sarah Tortoreti as VP of marketing to head up the digital-creator and video confab’s promotional strategies worldwide. Tortoreti joins VidCon from Viacom’s Nickelodeon, where she was director of marketing and brand strategy since April 2016. In early 2018 Viacom acquired VidCon, founded by veteran YouTube creators Hank Green and John Green. In the newly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content