December 15, 2023

The Top Social App For Teens Is A Surprise

If you read just the headlines of posts and news stories, you sometimes get a false sense of reality, so when real research is presented, it’s often at odds of the facts that we think we know. One of those facts is the general perception that teens spend most of their time on TikTok. That’s not the case, according to the latest Teens, Social Media and Technology 2023 report from Pew Research.

Top social app

The survey for the report was conducted between Sept. 26 and Oct. 23, 2023, among 1,453 13- to 17-year-olds. It covered social media, internet use and device ownership among teens.

What Teens Like

Surprisingly, 93% of teens say they use YouTube, while TikTok garnered only 63%. Snapchat (60%), Instagram (59%) and Facebook (33%) rounded out the top 5.

According to Pew, “About seven-in-ten teens say they visit the video-sharing platform daily, including 16% who report being on the site almost constantly. At the same time, 58% of teens are daily users of TikTok. This includes 17% who describe their TikTok use as almost constant.

Teen girls are more likely than boys to say they almost constantly use TikTok (22% vs. 12%) and Snapchat (17% vs. 12%).

Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to say they use Instagram (66% vs. 53%). BeReal, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook also are more commonly used by teen girls.

On the other hand, teen boys are more likely than teen girls to use Discord (34% vs. 22%) and Twitch (22% vs. 11%). Similarly, a larger share of boys than girls use Reddit and YouTube.”

Some Surprises

One thing I found surprising is that most teens have or have access to a smartphone (95%), a desktop or laptop computer (90%), or a gaming console (83%). Also surprising was that around 7-in-10 teens living in households earning less than $30,000 a year (72%) say they have access to a home computer.

What all this says is that today’s teens are super connected and are constantly engaging with social apps. There’s a lot of evidence that points to the fact that this isn’t good for their mental health, but the same thing was being said about television in the days before the internet. That said, TV is passive engagement where online social apps are a different animal altogether.

Finally, the top social app hasn’t changed since last year, but Facebook was dominant 10 years ago. It shows that social apps have a definite lifespan and the end is difficult to see when we’re in a period of peak usage.


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