Many US Teens Use TikTok and YouTube ‘Almost Constantly’

teens social media constant tiktok youtube pew research center

Many teenagers in the U.S. can’t tear themselves away from YouTube and TikTok, with over 15% saying they use the video-streaming apps “almost constantly,” according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

In new data on the social media and internet habits of American teenagers, YouTube beat out TikTok for the second year in a row as the most “widely used platform” among the nearly 1,500 teens surveyed for the report.

About seven in 10 teens said they visit Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube daily, including 16% who report being on the site almost constantly.

At the same time, 58% of teens said they were are daily users of the ByteDance-owned app TikTok. This includes 17% who describe their TikTok use as almost constant.

About half of teens use Snapchat and Instagram daily. A somewhat larger share reports using Snapchat almost constantly compared with Instagram — with 14% compared to 8%.

Far fewer teens say they use Facebook on a daily basis at 19%, with only 3% saying they are on the site almost constantly.

Taken together, a third of teens use at least one of these five social media sites almost constantly.

Teen girls are more likely than boys to say they almost constantly use TikTok (22% vs. 12%) and Snapchat (17% vs. 12%). But there are little to no differences in the shares of boys and girls who report almost constantly using YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

To conduct the report, Pew Research surveyed 1,453 US teens ages 13 to 17, recruited through their parents, between September 26 and October 23, 2023.

The report comes amid a flurry of high-profile lawsuits accusing social media companies of harming young people. Several public schools have filed lawsuits against social media giants over its “addictive” platforms in recent months.

And in October, a group of 33 states announced that they were suing Meta for allegedly harming young people’s mental health by knowingly designing features on Instagram and Facebook to hook children to its platforms.

According to The New York Times, it is highly unusual for so many states to come together to sue a tech giant for consumer harms. The coordination reveals that U.S. states are prioritizing the issue of children and online safety and combining legal resources to fight Meta — in a similar way that states have teamed up for cases against Big Tobacco and Big Pharma companies.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.