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article imageNearly half of U.S. teens are online 'almost constantly'

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2018 in Internet
Any doubts that the future is digital should be dispelled based on a new survey looking at on-line use among U.S. teenagers. Research suggests that the typical teen spends more time on-line than any other activity.
The headline figure from the organization Pew Research is that 45 percent of U.S. teenagers state they are online “almost constantly.” This level has shot up from the last time that Pew conducted their research. Back in 2014-2015 the figure was 24 percent. The growth is partly due to the greater expansion of affordable mobile technology ( 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, according to Pew). It also signals how the main way that information, be that news or social interaction, is ever-increasing via digital channels.
The survey, based on qualitative interviews, is titled "Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018" and the responses were drawn from the NORC AmeriSpeak panel. Here the researchers interviewed 1,058 parents, who had teens aged 13 to 17, and 743 teenagers.
In terms of whether teens feel social media has a positive or negative effect on their lives, the outcome was relatively neutral, with almost equal balance between the positive and the negative, although there were some variances between different ethnic groups.
The survey also indicated which social media platforms are most used by teenagers. Here YouTube came out top, with 85 percent use; this was followed by Instagram (72 percent); Snapchat (69 percent); Facebook (51 percent); Twitter (32 percent); Tumblr (9 percent) and Reddit (7 percent). Behind these figures there were some variance by income, with teens from lower income households tending to use Facebook more and teens from more wealthy families gravitating towards YouTube ('low income' was defined as a household taking in less than $30,000 per annum).
With the decline with the popularity of Facebook among U.S. teenagers, this is explored in a companion Digital Journal article. See: "Facebook losing ground to other platforms among teenagers."
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