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  • James Watts

Teen Social Media Use: The Risk of TikTok

Long gone are the days that social media platforms are primarily targeted at and used by teenagers. Yet it is hardly surprising to find that practically every social media platform still has a large and active teen audience.

Arguably social media plays a bigger part in teenagers' lives than any other age group. At a time in life when connecting with others is so important, social media gives teenagers a space where they can easily do this.

In this article, we will explore a recent study by Pew Research and dive into what this tells us about teen social media use.

The Study

The Pew Research Center is a leading think tank based in Washington, D.C. It regularly conducts studies into key areas such as social issues, trends and public opinions around the world.

Studies by Pew Research are regularly referenced in content surrounding social media use. In their latest study (August 2022), they provide detailed insight into teen social media usage, covering topics such as:

  • Teen usage of social media platforms

  • Constant vs occasional platform use

  • Teen’s perceived ability to give up social media

  • Teen accessibility to social media platforms

  • Breakdown of social media usage by key demographics

This study has produced some interesting findings…

The Findings

The (Continued) Rise of TikTok

The study shows that the video-first social media platform TikTok continues to grow in popularity among teenagers. This is unlikely to come as a surprise to those with their finger on the social media industry pulse.

Here is what the study tells us:

67% of teens surveyed said they use TikTok

16% of teens surveyed said they use TikTok almost constantly

The (Continued) Rise of TikTok

Facebook has been a staple social media platform amongst teenagers since it first launched. However, in more recent years we have seen a dip in the number of teens who use Facebook.

The study tells us that:

Just 32% of those surveyed used Facebook

The percentage of teens who use Facebook has dropped from 71% in 2014-15

Only 2% of those surveyed said they almost constantly used Facebook

YouTube a Leader

The fact YouTube is the leader when it comes to teen social media usage may or may not come as a surprise. The platform is used for everything from entertainment to learning and is a staple platform amongst those surveyed.

The study found that:

A massive 95% of those surveyed used YouTube

19% of those surveyed almost constantly visited and used YouTube

Tumblr and Twitter Falls

Another ‘not so surprising’ find of the study is that both Tumblr and Twitter are both falling in popularity with teens. The results of the study show:

Teen users of Twitter fell by 10% between 2014-15 and 2022 (from 33% (14-15) of those surveyed to 23% (22))

Teen users of Tumblr fell by 9% between 2014-15 and 2022 (from 14% (14-15) of those surveyed to 5% (22))

Teen Social Media Usage: Summary

It is clear that teens are still big users of social media platforms. However, with new players such as TikTok taking a large percentage of teen attention, other more established platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are starting to lose their share and fall in popularity.

The trends we have seen in this new study are likely to continue over the coming years. However, new platforms and trends can appear at any time and always have the potential to totally change how teens use social media.

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