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Teens, Social Media & Technology

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Teens, Social Media & Technology

24% of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones.

Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smartphones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study from Pew Research Center. More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.

Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices. Nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often. By comparison, teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. Some 68% go online at least daily.

African-American and Hispanic youth report more frequent internet use than white teens. Among African-American teens, 34% report going online “almost constantly” as do 32% of Hispanic teens, while 19% of white teens go online that often.

 Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among teens; half of teens use Instagram, and nearly as many use Snapchat

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Top Social Media Platforms for TeensFacebook remains the most used social media site among American teens ages 13 to 17 with 71% of all teens using the site, even as half of teens use Instagram and four-in-ten use Snapchat.

71% of teens use more than one social network site

Teens are diversifying their social network site use. A majority of teens — 71% — report using more than one social network site out of the seven platform options they were asked about. Among the 22% of teens who only use one site, 66% use Facebook, 13% use Google+, 13% use Instagram and 3% use Snapchat.

Middle and upper income teens lean toward Instagram and Snapchat

Snapchat More Likely to Be Used Most Often by Wealthier Teens; Facebook Most Popular Among Lower Income YouthThe survey data reveals a distinct pattern in social media use by socio-economic status. Teens from less well-off households (those earning less than $50,000) are more likely than others to say they use Facebook the most: 49% of these teens say they use it most often, compared with 37% of teens from somewhat wealthier families (those earning $50,000 or more).

Smartphones facilitate shifts in teens’ communication and information landscape

As American teens adopt smartphones, they have a variety of methods for communication and sharing at their disposal. Texting is an especially important mode of communication for many teens. Some 88% of teens have or have access to cell phones or smartphones and 90% of those teens with phones exchange texts. A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day.

Girls dominate social media; boys are more likely to play video games

Girls Dominate Visually-Oriented Social Media Platforms Teenage girls use social media sites and platforms — particularly visually-oriented ones — for sharing more than their male counterparts do. For their part, boys are more likely than girls to own gaming consoles and play video games.

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