Teenagers are more interested than ever in YouTube, home to the world’s growing influencer and vlogger base. According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 85 percent of teenagers (ages 13–17) say they use the platform. Closely behind are Instagram (72 percent) and Snapchat (69 percent).
Pew’s findings indicate an ongoing trend of teenagers moving away from platforms like Facebook in recent years. (It’s worth noting that Pew’s report in 2015 did not include YouTube or Reddit.) A 2015 report pointed to 71 percent of teens who reported themselves as Facebook users; today, that number is around 51 percent. “For the most part, teens tend to use similar platforms regardless of their demographic characteristics,” Pew’s report states, “but there are exceptions. Notably, lower-income teens are more likely to gravitate toward Facebook than those from higher-income households.”
More teenagers have access to smartphones than ever before. According to Pew, 95 percent of teens own or can access a smartphone, as opposed to 73 percent in 2015. Forty-five percent say they’re online “on a near-constant basis,” though Pew says “there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today ... Given the opportunity to explain their views in their own words, teens who say social media has had a mostly positive effect tended to stress issues related to connectivity and connection with others.”
On the other end of the spectrum are platforms like Twitter (32 percent), Tumblr (9 percent), and Reddit (7 percent). Although more teens use YouTube than any other platform, it’s worth noting that respondents say they use Snapchat the most often. It’s a close call between Snapchat and YouTube: 35 percent versus 32 percent, respectively. “It is clear the social media environment today revolves less around a single platform than it did three years ago,” the report says.