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YouTube tops teens’ social-media diet: Pew Survey

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Teen usage of social media hasn’t dropped much, despite rising concerns about its effects on the mental health of adolescents, a survey from the Pew Research Institute found.

But the data also found that roughly one in six teens describe their use of two platforms — YouTube and TikTok — as “almost constant.”

Seventy-one percent of teens said they visit YouTube at least daily; 16 per cent described their usage as “almost constant” according to the survey. A slightly larger group — 17 per cent — said they used TikTok almost constantly. Those figures for Snapchat and Instagram came in at 14 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

YouTube remains by far the most popular social platform among teens, with 93 per cent responding that they use the service. That number was down two percentage points from 2022.

This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on mobile devices. PHOTO: AP

Runners-up included TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, although all three trailed YouTube in this measure by 30 percentage points or more.

Three of those four platforms showed slight drops in usage over the past year, according to the survey. The exception, Snapchat, rose a single percentage point.

Facebook, whose overall usage by teens has dropped to 33 per cent in 2023 from 71 per cent in 2014-15, gets about the respect from teens you’d expect. Only 19 per cent of teens reported checking Facebook daily or more frequently. Just 3 per cent describe their usage as almost constant.

Social media is increasingly taking fire over the algorithmic techniques that platforms use to drawn in and retain younger users. In October, a coalition of 33 states, including New York and California, sued Meta Platforms for contributing to the youth mental health crisis, alleging that the company knowingly and deliberately designed features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to its platforms. Meta has denied the charges.

The Pew survey, which was published Monday, was conducted from Sept 26 to Oct 23 with 1,453 teens aged 13 to 17.