Teens are among the earliest adopters of any new technology or social network. The whims and fancies of teens can make or break a social media site. After all, Facebook began as a social network for college students.
A report released by Pew Research Center, Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015, throws a fascinating insight into how teens use the social media to connect and communicate. The report found that a vast majority of teens are online on a daily basis largely because of the proliferation of smartphones.
What’s also interesting is that while teens continue to use Facebook, they also use other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. The survey finds that the new social networks such as Snapchat are generally used by teens from affluent families, while Facebook is liked by those from all backgrounds. (Read this article on GeekersMagazine.com to understand why Snapchat is so popular with Millennials.)
Here are 6 facts you should know about teens and the social media, based on the Pew Research Center survey.
Fact #1: Smartphone penetration among teens is very high
A vast majority of teens have smartphones, close to 73%. 88% of teens have access to at least some kind of a mobile phone. 77% of teens in the USA whose parents earn over $50,000, own a smartphone, while only 64% of teens from less affluent families own them. African-American teens have high access to smartphones – around 85% of them have smartphones. The high smartphone penetration points out to an increased social media activity. 94% of teens claim to be on the social media at least once a day.
Fact #2: It’s not just about Facebook
Teens today use a number of social networks, not just Facebook. Among the popular Facebook alternatives are Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Vine and Tumblr. 89% of the teens in the survey claimed to have used at least one of these Facebook alternatives. 22% said they used just one social network. Among those who used only one social media platform, Facebook remains the most popular, used by 66% of teens, while 13% used Google+, 13% used Instagram and 3% used Snapchat. Facebook remains the favorite of 41% of teens, while Instagram and Tumblr are favored by girls in particular. Older teens like Snapchat and Twitter, while you are likely to find young teens, aged 13 to 14, on Instagram, more often than not.
Fact #3: Facebook is still dominant
Make no mistake, Facebook is the dominant social network among teens, just as it is with adults. 71% of teens claim to use Facebook, 52% say they use Instagram, 41% report to using Snapchat, and 33% say they use Twitter. 33% of the teens can be found on Google+, 24% on Vine, and 14% on Tumblr. Facebook remains overwhelmingly popular with older teens, but not so much with younger teens.
Fact #4: Girls prefer visual social networks
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that teenage girls prefer visually oriented social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. 61% of girls use Instagram and 51% use Snapchat. 33% of girls use social pinboards such as Pinterest and Polyvore.
Fact #5: Messaging apps are the next big thing among teens
It’s rare for teens to send text only through the traditional texting system. While 90% of teens admit to sending and receiving at least 30 texts a day, most of them do so through messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Kik. WhatsApp is very popular with Hispanic and African-American teens – 47% and 46% of who claim to use messaging apps on a daily basis, respectively.
Fact #6: Video chat is popular too
Around 47% of teens claim to use video platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, Omegle and Oovoo to communicate with friends. Girls are more likely to use video chat than boys, with 54% of the girls in the survey claiming to use video calling apps. Hispanic teens are big users of video calling platforms as well, with 53% of them saying that they used some video chat tool. Just 43% of white teens claim to talk to friends on video on a regular basis.
Raghav Hegde, Bangalore
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