Teenagers are turning away from traditional social media like Facebook and increasingly turning to Snapchat to communicate with their friends, according to a new study released Wednesday.
According to Piper Jaffray’s semi-annual “Taking Stock with Teens” research survey, 47 percent of teenagers said Snapchat is their favorite social media platform, compared with just nine percent who said Facebook was their favorite.
The results show a sharp spike in the number of teens who said Snapchat is their favorite platform, up from 24 percent when the survey was given in the spring of last year.
In addition to Snapchat and Facebook, 24 percent of teens said they preferred Instagram – virtually unchanged from 2016 – and seven percent said they prefer Twitter, down from 15 percent last year.
For the report, Piper Jaffray interviewed 6,100 teens in 44 states, with an average age of 16.
While Snapchat is the most popular social medium used by teens, it is also the most harmful for them, according to a study released earlier this year by the British Royal Society for Public Health.
The study, which ranked the psychological impact of various social media on teenagers, showed Snapchat, along with Instagram, to cause the largest number of “health and well-being” issues among those surveyed.
Those issues include anxiety, depression, quality of sleep, body image, loneliness and real-world friendships and connections.
Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of the RSPH, said Snapchat and Instagram likely cause the most mental health issues among teens because “both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”
To combat the negative influence of social media, the researchers recommend adding pop ups that warn users of heavy usage, which was supported by 71 percent of the people surveyed.