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Teenage Use of Social Media Statistics in 2023

Social media is deeply intertwined with teenage life today. But as a parent or educator, have you ever wondered: how exactly do teenagers use platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok? What are the benefits and risks of social media for young users?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive into the latest research on teenage social media use to answer these questions and more. You‘ll get a data-driven look at how teenagers are using social platforms in 2023 – from time spent per day to the most popular apps. We‘ll also explore some of the effects frequent social media use can have on teenage mental health and self-esteem.

Armed with these insights, you‘ll be better prepared to help the teenagers in your life use social media in healthy, productive ways. Let‘s get started!

Key Overall Social Media Usage Statistics

Recent surveys paint a clear picture – social media has become a ubiquitous part of everyday life for teenagers and adults alike. Just look at some of these statistics:

  • There are over 4.65 billion social media users worldwide as of January 2023, up 10% from 2022 (DataReportal).

  • The average time spent using social media per day is 2 hours and 27 minutes globally (DataReportal).

  • 93% of teenagers aged 13-17 now have access to a smartphone, allowing easy social media access (Pew Research Center).

  • 95% of teenagers say they use social media apps and sites primarily to stay connected with friends and family (Common Sense Media).

So it‘s no surprise that…

Percentage of Teenagers Using Social Media

  • Approximately 90% of teenagers aged 13-17 now use social media in some capacity, according to surveys by Pew Research Center.

  • 51% of teenagers report using social media multiple times per day, indicating near-constant access (Common Sense Media).

  • 24% of teenagers say they are online "almost constantly" thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones (Pew Research Center).

Teen Social Media Use Infographic

Statistics on teenage social media usage frequency (Source: Pew Research Center)

Clearly, social media has become a primary way most teenagers socialize, communicate and stay entertained throughout the day. But which platforms are they using most frequently?

Most Popular Social Media Platforms Among Teens

The social media landscape is diverse and fast-changing. Here are the top 5 platforms used by teens in America along with their user percentages, according to a large-scale 2022 Pew Research survey:

  • YouTube – used by 95% of teens, with 19% using YouTube "almost constantly" throughout their day
  • TikTok – used by 67% of teens, with 16% using it constantly
  • Instagram – used by 62% of teens, 10% almost constantly
  • Snapchat – used by 59% of teens, 15% almost constantly
  • Facebook – used by 32% of teens, but only 2% almost constantly

As you can see, video and image-focused platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram dominate, while text-based sites like Facebook have declined in popularity among the teenage demographic. Snapchat and TikTok tend to inspire more constant usage throughout the day.

Teen Social Media Platform Usage Infographic

Top social media platforms used by American teens (Source: Pew Research Center)

Why These Platforms Appeal to Teens

But why have these new, visual-forward platforms become most popular? There are a few key reasons:

  • Creative self-expression – Platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow teens to share photos/videos and get creative expressing themselves.

  • Authenticity – Teens feel influencers and creators on these sites are more "real" compared to curated feeds on Facebook.

  • FOMO – With constant updates, teens are pulled in by fear of missing out on viral content or social interactions.

  • Fit adolescent interests – Quick, visual content fits with teen preferences vs text-heavy sites like Twitter.

In many ways, the rise of apps like TikTok and Snapchat reflects how the nature of communication has changed for the teenage demographic.

Frequency of Teenage Social Media Use

On average, American teenagers report spending around 3 hours per day actively using social media. However, usage frequency can vary widely:

  • 16% use TikTok almost constantly throughout the day.
  • 15% use Snapchat almost constantly.
  • 10% use Instagram almost constantly.
  • 19% use YouTube almost constantly.

Many teens exhibit near-constant connection to social platforms. A 2019 Common Sense Media study found 24% of teens feel "addicted" to social media, highlighting its addictive nature for some.

Teenage girls tend to report higher social media usage, on average using platforms about 30-60 minutes more per day than boys (Pew Research Center, 2022).

However, not all social media usage is equal. Passively scrolling feeds differs from actively interacting with friends through comments, posts and messages.

Teenage Social Media Behaviors

When using social media, teens report:

  • 70% actively communicate with close friends daily through liking posts, commenting and messaging.
  • 55% spend time browsing friends‘ profiles and photos.
  • 50% actively share their own photos, videos and posts to platforms daily.
  • 45% discover entertaining content like viral videos or memes on a daily basis.
  • 40% follow celebrities, influencers or creators on their preferred platforms.

So social connection is a prime motivation for teenage social media use. Browsing feeds and sharing funny or relatable content also rank highly.

Teen Social Media Behavior Infographic

Top teenage social media activities (Source: Piper Sandler)

Age Breakdowns of Major Social Platforms

Now, let‘s take a look at the age demographics of the most popular social platforms:

Age of TikTok Users

  • 25% of TikTok users are 10-19 years old.
  • 22.4% are 20-29 years old.
  • 21.7% are 30-39 years old.
  • 20.3% are 40-49 years old.
  • 11% are 50+ years old.

So while teenagers and young adults dominate TikTok‘s user base, the platform has a relatively balanced cross-generational appeal. Given its meteoric growth, expect the percentage of teenage TikTok users to increase over time.

Age of Instagram Users

  • 8.9% of users are 13-17 years old.
  • 30.2% are 18-24 years old.
  • 31.7% are 25-34 years old.
  • The remaining 29% are 35 and up.

Instagram clearly skews young, with over 90% of users below age 35. Teenagers make up a significant and growing portion of Instagram‘s audience.

Age of Facebook Users

  • 5.6% of users are 13-17 years old.
  • 22.6% are 18-24 years old.
  • 31% are 25-34 years old.
  • The remaining 41% are 35 and up.

Facebook has an older average user base compared to Instagram and TikTok. While still popular among teens, Facebook‘s share of teenage users has declined 8% from 2015 to 2022 (Pew Research Center).

So while all major social platforms have multi-generational appeal, attracting teenage users is key to future growth and dominance – driving competition between platforms.

Impacts of Social Media on Teenage Wellbeing

Clearly, social media is a huge part of everyday life and communication for most American teenagers today. But this level of immersion in social platforms also impacts teenage development and wellbeing in several ways:

Potential Benefits

  • Enables social connection – Social media allows teens to stay in touch and coordinate with friends effortlessly. 80% of teens say it strengthens relationships.

  • Fosters interests/creativity – Teens can join niche communities, create content around hobbies and learn new skills through tutorials.

  • Provides entertainment – Teens enjoy funny videos, memes, viral content and influencer streams for entertainment.

  • Enables self-expression – Teens can experiment with identity by sharing photos, stories and art on platforms.

Potential Risks

  • Lowers self-esteem – Teens comparing themselves negatively to photoshopped, curated images posted by influencers and friends.

  • Increases anxiety/depression – Constant social media use is correlated with poorer mental health outcomes among teens.

  • Promotes FOMO – Teens can feel left out when seeing friends socializing without them online.

  • Enables cyberbullying – Bullying and harassment affects over 40% of teens on social platforms.

  • Causes distraction – Excess time on social media takes away from academics, family time and developing passions offline.

Teen Social Media Effects Infographic

Potential impacts of social media on teens (Sources: CNN, Adweek)

The effects of social media on teens really come down to each individual user and how they personally engage with and balance these platforms as part of their wider lives, both online and offline.

Signs of Unhealthy Social Media Use in Teens

For parents or teachers worried about a teenager‘s social media habits, there are some signs of potentially unhealthy usage to look out for:

  • Obsession with likes, comments and followers on their profiles and posts

  • Constantly checking notifications and feeds throughout the day

  • Spending minimal time on offline hobbies, with friends and family

  • Declining academic performance due to social media distraction

  • Signs of worsening mental health like disrupted sleep patterns or loss of interest in usual activities

  • Withdrawing from real world social gatherings to spend more time online

  • Displaying anger, anxiety or sadness when unable to access social media for periods of time

By keeping an eye out for these types of behaviors, the adults in a teen‘s life can help guide them toward healthier social media habits.

Tips for Parents to Help Teens Use Social Media Positively

As a parent, here are some proactive tips to help your teenager leverage social media in positive ways while avoiding potential pitfalls:

  • Set clear screen time guidelines, adapting them for weekends/holidays. Avoid outright banning usage, but establish daily limits.

  • Encourage balance by advocating for offline hobbies and real world friends. Help fill their schedule with activities outside of social media.

  • Follow/friend your teen on social platforms to better understand their online world. Comment on their posts and know their online contacts.

  • Establish device-free zones/times like during family dinners or after a set time in the evening. Charge phones outside teen bedrooms overnight.

  • Monitor privacy settings together and teach them about potential online risks like predators, scams and the permanence of posted content.

  • Have open conversations about what they do online and who they interact with. Discuss diversity in bodies, experiences and lifestyles seen on social sites.

  • Set a positive example with your own social media habits. Be mindful of your time on devices and use around your teen.

With involvement and guidance from parents, teachers and other responsible adults, teenagers can learn to integrate social media into their lives in healthy moderation.

The Takeaway on Teenage Social Media Use

Social media is a complex digital landscape – full of ups and downs – that teenagers must increasingly navigate. While platforms like TikTok and Snapchat clearly offer benefits like social connection, entertainment and self-expression, overuse can negatively impact mental health, distract from academics and offline life, and expose teens to online risks.

As the data shows, the vast majority of teenagers actively use social media multiple times per day. As parents and educators, frequent monitoring, open conversations and guidance around screen time and online behavior is needed to ensure teenagers use social platforms responsibly. An effective balance can allow teenagers to thrive both online and off.

At the end of the day, informed awareness and involvement are the keys to helping the teens in your life find success in both the digital realm and beyond.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.