How Much Time Do Teens Spend On Social Media

How Much Time Do Teens Spend On Social Media in 2024?

Published on: July 20, 2023
Last Updated: July 20, 2023

How Much Time Do Teens Spend On Social Media in 2024?

Published on: July 20, 2023
Last Updated: July 20, 2023

The digital revolution started in the second half of the 20th century.

It’s also referred to as the Third Industrial Revolution.

This revolution technically started in the 1940s, but it’s only been in the last 15 years that the digital revolution has really taken off. 

That’s how long it has taken for digital technology to take over the world.

Today, the internet is incredibly easy to access and is home to vast amounts of information.

Over half of the eight billion people in the world are online.

In 2004, MySpace, one of the first social media platforms, had one million monthly users.

Today, Facebook alone has 2.94 billion users, YouTube has 2 billion. 

At this stage, one-third of people alive today are on social media.

It’s little wonder that teens spend so much time online, it’s become the main means of communication. 

With such a fast change in lifestyle, it’s natural for older people to wonder how much time do teens spend on social media and is it good for them?

Key Statistics

  • On average teenagers spend 7 hours 22 minutes looking at screens every day
  • Teenagers spend around 5 hours on social media every day
  • Time spent on screens has increased by 2 hours since 2015
  • Teenage boys use screens roughly 1 hour more than girls
  • The average teenager spends in excess of 3 hours watching videos/TV
  • Teenagers use screens for 3 hours more per day than tweenagers
  • 58% of teenagers say social media makes them feel sad
  • 66% of teenagers have been contacted by an adult on social media
  • 36% of teens say they spend too much time on social media
  • 95% of teens use YouTube
  • Over 50% of teens can’t imagine giving up social media

How Much Time Do Teens Spend On Social Media in 2024?

Social Media

1. On Average, Teenagers Spend 7 Hours 22 Minutes Looking At Screens Every Day

The exact amount of screen time teenagers enjoy per day varies according to their location and whether they are at school or not.

However, in general teenagers are spending 7 hours and 22 minutes staring at screens. 

For the average teenager, that’s 43% of their waking day! 

Of that time, approximately 5 hours are spent on social media.

These figures are particularly interesting as surveys show 47% of parents allow their teenagers to look at screens for over 3 hours.

An impressive 85% of parents allow their teenagers at least one hour of screen time a day.

These facts are collaborated by other surveys across the globe. It’s not just a US issue.

There is a clear gap between how much time parents allow teenagers on screens and how long they are spending looking at things online. 

(Gitnux)

2. Time Spent On Screens Has Increased By 2 Hours Since 2015

This fact isn’t particularly surprising. As the internet has become important in daily life, screen time has increased for everyone. 

While the global average for screen time is 7 hours 22 minutes, US teens are spending even more time online. 

In 2015 the average American teenager spent 6 hours 40 minutes looking at screens.

By 2019 it was over  7 hours and, by 2021, surveys show an average US teen spends 8 hours 39 minutes online. 

That’s effectively a 2 hour increase in screen time per day, in just 6 years. 

As screens are becoming increasingly popular and important, the question is how long will teenagers be spending on screens in another 6 years?

It’s worth noting that tweenagers screen time has also increased by roughly 2 hours in the same period.

(Common Sense Media)

3. Teenage Boys Use Screens Roughly 1 Hour More Than Girls

Research shows that teenage girls prefer using TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

In contrast, teenage boys generally prefer YouTube, Reddit, and Twitch. 

The figures make interesting reading. For TikTok, 73% of teenage girls use it vs. 60% of teenage boys.

Instagram favors teenage girls with 69% to 55%, and Snapchat enjoys a 64% to 54% advantage for teenage girls.

YouTube offers the closest comparison and shows that most teenagers use YouTube. 97% of teenage boys admit to using it versus 92% of teenage girls. 

In all cases, teenage boys will spend longer on social media.

However, this may be connected to the content they are viewing as YouTube videos can often be longer than other social media channels. 

(Common Sense Media)

4. The Average Teenager Spends In Excess Of 3 Hours Watching Videos/TV

When we talk about screen time most people instantly think of smartphones, laptops, and even tablets. They all provide access to the internet. 

However, screen time also includes time spent watching the television.

A recent survey showed that teenagers spent at least 3 hours of their screen time watching television programs or studying videos online.

It could be argued that many of these videos are informative, although just as many aren’t. 

(Common Sense Media)

5. Teenagers Use Screens For 3 Hours More Per Day Than Tweenagers

Social Media Promotion

In general teenagers are given a greater level of freedom to access the internet and indulge in other activities.

Put simply, teenagers are growing and maturing into adults, they need to start becoming independent. 

That’s the main reason why teenagers, on average, use their screens for 3 hours more a day than tweenagers. 

While encouraging independence is important, it’s also important to consider the impact of social media on teenagers and tweenagers today. 

Several studies have highlighted an issue regarding a disconnection between reality and social media. 

Social media makes it easy to exaggerate talents, activities, and even a lifestyle.

It can seem like someone has the perfect life, even if they don’t. 

Teenagers will often believe this is how they need to be and strive for an impossible target. 

Reducing screen time can help teenagers discover what is real and what is not. 

(Common Sense Media)

6. 58% Of Teenagers Say Social Media Makes Them Feel Sad

Social media offers a distorted view of life. Influencers often appear to have perfect lives.

The reality is that most photos are staged and they don’t have the life that their photos and videos show. 

Unfortunately, teenagers don’t appreciate this and will strive to achieve the same level of perfection.

They are likely to fall short, leading to feelings of low self-worth.

This can have a negative effect on their ability to function in the real world, causing a vicious circle and even leave teenagers feeling depressed

Stepping away from screens can help to boost their mental health and ensure teenagers appreciate balance in their life. 

(A Wired Family Survey)

7. 66% Of Teenagers Have Been Contacted By An Adult On Social Media

This is a truly alarming fact as many teenagers may not, at first, realize they have been contacted by an adult.

In all cases where uninvited adult contact has occurred, the teenager has felt uncomfortable.

That’s encouraging as it’s safe to assume these teenagers won’t want to meet the adults in the real world.

The problem is if they don’t realize they have been contacted by an adult.

With approximately 500,000 predators online every day, it’s surprisingly easy for teenagers to fall prey to them.

That is something all parents should be talking to their children about. 

(A Wired Family Survey)

8. 36% Of Teens Say they Spend Too Much Time On Social Media

The latest survey by Pew Research suggests that 36% of teenagers know they are spending too much time on social media.

Unfortunately, knowing they spend too much time looking at screens isn’t the same as reducing screen time.

The statistics favor girls as 41% of them, (compared to 31% of boys), believe they spent too much time on social media. 

While 36% can see the issue, 55% of teenagers believe they are spending the right amount of time online.

A further 8% don’t believe they spend enough time on social media. 

Of course, the figures don’t reflect how much time each group is actually spending on social media. 

(Pew Research)

9. 95% Of Teens Use YouTube

Of all the social media channels Facebook is the most popular, with nearly 3 billion users.

However, YouTube is a close second and is definitely more popular with younger people. 

In fact, 95% of teenage respondents in the latest Pew Research survey admitted to using YouTube.

That’s more than for any other social media channel. 

(Pew Research)

10. Over 50% Of Teens Can’t Imagine Giving Up Social Media

Social media is addictive. If you reduce the time you spend on it you’ll be worried that you’re missing something important.

That means, teenagers are more likely to increase screen time instead of reduce it. 

This is reflected in the latest Pew research which shows 54% of teenagers can’t imagine giving up social media.

A staggering 36% of users think it would be relatively hard to survive without social media, with 18% of respondents saying it would be very hard, almost impossible to give it up.

A smaller number believed it would be possible to give up social media.

26% thought it would be fairly easy to quit while 20% thought it would be very easy to leave social media for good. 

(Pew Research)

Is Social Media A Negative Influence On Teenagers?

Social Media

Social media has become the foremost way to connect in the modern world.

Teenagers have grown up used to being connected and don’t know a world without social media. 

In that sense, it’s an essential part of the growing-up experience.

However, as with most things in life, moderation is the key. That’s what parents need to help with.

This will help teenagers create balanced lives and understand the difference between the online world and the physical world.

If moderation isn’t achieved, teenagers could face the following negative influences.

Sleep Deprivation

Teenagers who use screens too much are likely to be online late into the night.

This will impact how much sleep they get. 

As sleep is essential for mental and physical health, a lack of sleep can have serious, negative, consequences. 

Online Bullying

Teenagers may be bullied online as it is very easy for anyone to attack them verbally. It can be for any reason.

Bullies often find it easier to attack others online even if they wouldn’t do it in person. 

It can make life hard for the victim. They won’t want to quit social media so may have no means of escaping the bullying. 

Low Self-Worth

Too much time on social media encourages teenagers to compare themselves to others and create impossible goals. 

When they can’t live up to their own unrealistic expectations, teenagers will feel unworthy. 

This low self-worth can cause them mental health issues.

It can also reflect in the real world as low self-confidence, making it hard to connect with others socially or even find the right job.

In many cases low self-worth leads to mental health issues, including depression.

Dangerous Acts

It only takes one person to start a viral trend by doing something stupid online.

Many teenagers will feel peer pressure to repeat the action, regardless of how dangerous it is.

Parents may find out about the trend too late and teenagers can get hurt. 

Summing Up

How much time do teens spend on social media? The statistics show that it’s over 7 hours of screen time a day, a lot of which is on social media, and that’s probably too much. 

Of course, reducing screen time isn’t easy as children and parents have developed habits.

Most experts agree the simplest way to reduce screen time is to create a policy of no phones after a certain time. 

Critically, parents should get together to ensure their children are all doing this.

That will ensure teenagers don’t feel they are missing out and encourage a better balance without missing the latest tips, trends, and gossip on social media. 

Don’t forget, if you’re changing your teenagers access to screens and social media, make sure you chat with them first and explain it.

They still won’t appreciate it straight away, but they will eventually. 

Sources

Local12ExplodingTopicsWikipedia
Our World in DataPewResearch

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Written by Eddie Hurst

I’m a full-time social media research specialist. Actually you could say I’m a bit obsessed. I seek out the latest information and hacks for our How-to Guides. As well as that, I put companies under the microscope for reviews.