The ‘Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018’ report said that a shift in teens’ social media use is just one example of how the technology landscape for young people has evolved since Pew’s last teen technology survey in 2014-2015, with smartphone ownership now “nearly ubiquitous”.
Today some 85% of US teens aged 13 to 17 said they use YouTube, compared to 72% for Instagram, 69% for Snapchat and 51% for Facebook.
In the 2014-15 survey, Facebook was found to be the only platform that was used by a clear majority of teens with 71% use versus 52% for Instagram and 41% for Snapchat. However, unlike this year’s survey, the previous study did not include YouTube as an option.
In terms of the online platforms that teens use the most, today 35% said they visit Snapchat most often, 32% said YouTube, while 15% use Instagram the most. By comparison, just 10% of teens said Facebook is their most-used online platform, and even fewer cited Twitter, Reddit or Tumblr as the site they visit the most.
In terms of device use, in 2018 some 95% of US teens said they have or have access to a smartphone, which represents a 22-percentage-point increase from the 73% of teens who said this in 2014-2015.
Currently, some 88% of US teens report having access to a desktop or laptop computer at home, while 84% say they have or have access to a game console at home. An even larger 90% say they play video games of some kind – be it on a computer, mobile phone or games console.
The survey featured interviews with 1,058 parents and have a teen ages 13 to 17, as well as interviews with 743 teens. The interviews took place online and by telephone from March 7 to April 10, 2018, and were conducted by NORC, a research institution based at the University of Chicago.