Teens and Cell Phone Use
Teens and Cell Phone Use

American teenagers are using YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat more and Facebook less, a new study shows.

Twenty percent fewer American teens said they used Facebook in 2016 than the year before, when 71 percent said they used the social media platform, reported Pew Research Center

YouTube is now the most popular social media internet service for teens, 85 percent said. The second most popular is Instagram, said 72 percent of respondents. Facebook owns Instagram and shares posts and images with that service.

Snapchat is popular among 69 percent of teens polled, and Twitter is used among 32 percent. Fewer than 10 percent reported using Tumblr or Reddit.

When asked which services they use most often, 35 percent of teens identified Snapchat. About 32 percent said they use YouTube the most, while 15 percent said they use Instagram more than other services.

Also among teens, 95 percent reported owning or using a smartphone. This marked a 22 percent increase over a similar study from 2015.

Teens from different economic and racial backgrounds liked the same services, but usage was different, the study found.

For example, about 70 percent of teens whose families earned less than $30,000 a year said they used Facebook. Among teens from families making more than $75,000, just 36 percent of teens reported using it.

Among males and females, the study found that about 42 percent of girls said they used Snapchat most, compared to 29 percent of boys. More males — 39 percent — said they used YouTube the most, compared to 25 percent of females.

Pew's latest study also confirmed earlier research that a huge majority of teens like to spend time gaming. When asked whether they ever play video games — either on a computer, a game machine or phone — 90 percent answered yes.

The marketing research company eMarketer noted in a report earlier this year that Facebook was losing younger users at a much faster rate than experts had predicted. The company's research showed that in 2018, less than half of U.S. internet users aged 12 to 17 used Facebook on any device at least once a month.

eMarketer said that even younger users would be signing off Facebook in 2018. It predicted a 9 percent decrease in users aged 11 and younger. The company said Facebook can expect to lose up to 2 million users aged 24 and younger in 2018.

The company also predicted about 1.6 million users 24 years and younger will be joining Facebook-owned Instagram in 2018. But another 1.9 million are expected to move over to Snapchat, the company said.

In March, Pew asked adults which social platforms they used. Most — 68 percent — said they were Facebook users. (Of those, 74 percent said they used the social media service daily.) About half reported using Facebook several times a day.

The studies were based on interviews with 743 teens and more than 1,000 parents during March and April 2018.