11 Insights Into Teenagers’ Use of Social Media

Whether it’s a real concern or just a lighthearted comment, the words “social media” and “addiction” often seem to go together. Teens, in particular, are some of the biggest fans of social media.

In the fall of 2023, Ipsos Public Affairs asked 1,453 pairs of teenagers ages 13 to 17 and one of their parents to take a self-administered web survey about social media use. Pew Research Center analyzed the data and made several observations about social media trends and points of worry among teenagers’ use of social media. The following were some of the main takeaways.

1: YouTube Is King and Queen

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When asked whether they’ve ever used certain apps or sites, 93% percent of teens report using YouTube. Although YouTube use among teens dropped 2% between 2022 and 2023, it’s by far the most widely used social media platform among the teenagers surveyed.

2: TikTok

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TikTok comes in second place for teens who’ve used its platform, at 63% in 2023. Snapchat comes in third place at 60%, and Instagram in fourth place at 59%.

3: Bottom of the Barrel

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BeReal is the social media platform with the fewest teenagers who’ve tried it out (13%). The French social media app launched in 2020, but the survey only shows data for 2023.

4: Not in the Cool Crowd

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Reddit also doesn’t appear to be widely used among teens, with only 14% having tried it. Twitch (17%), X (20%), and WhatsApp (21%) are also relatively unpopular social media apps for teenagers. 

5: Facebook Is Out

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Facebook has seen better days if Ipsos Public Affairs’ survey is any indication. Only 33% of teens report trying it. The once-thriving social media platform is becoming increasingly not cool with Gen Z, who often see it as a platform for older folks and for people to argue about politics. 

6: Gender and Social Media

Social media apps.
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According to the survey, teen boys are 5% more likely to use YouTube than girls, and teenage girls are 9% more likely to use TikTok and Snapchat than boys. 

7: Income Indifference

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There was zero difference in the use of YouTube among different incomes, with 93% of teenage surveyees reporting that they use YouTube regardless of whether they fall in the <$30,000, $30,000 – $74,999, or $75,000+ household income category. 

8: TikTok Divergence

Girl looking at TikTok.
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Seventy-one percent of teenagers whose family has a household income of under $30,000 report using TikTok. That number drops 10% among teens living in a place with a household income of $75,000+.

9: Time Dedicated to Social Media

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Approximately seven-in-ten teenagers report using YouTube daily. But perhaps most concerning for parents, 16% of them say they use YouTube “almost constantly.” Another 38% say they use YouTube several times per day, while 8% report using the platform less often than several times a week.

10: Can’t Get Enough

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TikTok outnumbers YouTube with self-reported “almost constant” teenage users, at 17%. Fourteen percent of teens say they use Snapchat almost constantly, whereas only 8% and 3% say the same about Instagram and Facebook, respectively.

11: Use Trends

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By and large, teenagers using social media platforms several times per day or not at all were the most popular responses to the most popular platforms. 

Taking Control of Social Media

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In a world where social media is at teenagers’ and parents’ fingertips, below are some ideas to help your teenager gain control of social media rather than letting it control them:

  • Block content that makes your teen self-conscious or feel bad
  • Take one day off from social media each week
  • Set social media time limits on their phone

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