Teens’ social media use has increased dramatically. Today, 70 percent of teens report using social media more than once a day. In 2012, that number was 34 percent.
Most American teenagers have a smartphone. The number of teens with a smartphone more than doubled since 2012, from 41 percent up to 89 percent. Looking at only 13- to 14-year-olds, 84 percent now have a smartphone, and 93 percent have some type of mobile device such as a tablet.
Facebook is out. Instagram and Snapchat are in. But you probably already knew this. One 16-year-old participant, when asked in the study whom she does communicate with on Facebook, replied, “My grandparents.”
Fifty-seven percent agree that using social media often distracts them when they should be doing homework. Overall, teens’ preference for face-to-face communication has fallen, while more and more teens are choosing social media and video-chatting as a favorite way to communicate.
Many teens seem to recognize that social media platforms are designed to keep them hooked. Seventy-two percent believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.
Nevertheless, many teens say that using social media has a positive effect on how they feel about themselves. Teens were more likely to say that social media has a positive rather than a negative effect on how they feel (though most say it doesn’t make much difference one way or the other).
3. Recognize the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL).
Common knowledge tells us that teens’ social-emotional well-being is important to their overall health and ability to learn. But, the study reveals, it also has a big impact on how teens view their interactions on social media.