Teen Social Media Statistics 2022 (What Students and Parents Need to Know)

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February 14, 2022

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

It’s no secret that with the internet and all of the other technological advancements over the last two to three decades, parenting today looks very different.  

  • 66% of parents in America believe that parenting is harder today than it was 20 years ago
  • 26% of these parents think that technology, in general, is to blame and 21% think that it’s the fault of social media and its negative impacts (Source:  Pew Research)


We’ve compiled some interesting statistics regarding teenagers and their technology and social media usage and we’re sharing advice from 5 experts on how to help your teens safely navigate today’s digital world so that they can shine online. 

Teen social media statistics

  • 85% of Americans own a smartphone (Source: Pew Research)
  • 87% of American teens own an iPhone and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone (Source: How-To Geek)
  • Non-school related screen time  among teenagers doubled from pre-pandemic estimates of 3.8 hours per day up to 7.7 hours (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics)
  • 95% of American teens have daily access to a smartphone 
  • ~46% of teens report being online almost constantly (Source: Pew Research)
  • 34% of US teens picked Snapchat as their favorite social media network in the fall of 2020  and ranked TikTok 2nd at 29%.  (Source: Statista
  • ~An average of 5+ billion snaps are created every day (Source: Snap, Inc.)
  • 48% of U.S. internet users between the ages of 15 and  25 years use Snapchat (Source: Statista)
  • In 2020, TikTok overtook YouTube as the most used app by American teens and pre-teens with 105.1 daily usage minutes (Source: APnews)
  • TikTok had a total of 78.7 million users in the United States as of 2021
  • ~Around 37.3 million of these were between the ages of 10-25 (Source: Statista)
  • ~Female users between the ages of 10 and 19 make up TikTok’s largest user demographic (Source: Statista)
  • Only 8% of Instagram users are between the ages of 13-17 (Source: Statista)
  • ~Cristiano Ronaldo has the most Instagram followers with 399 million
  • ~Kylie Jenner comes in 2nd with 308 million followers
  • 80% of 12-15-year-olds play video games online (Source: Ofcom)

What do teens think?

% who say using social media makes them feel:

  • Lonely: 3% (More) 25% (Less)
  • Depressed: 3% (More) 16% (Less)
  • Anxious: 8% (More) 12% (Less)
  • Confident: 20% (More) 5% (Less)
  • Better about themselves: 18% (More) 4% (Worse)
  • Popular: 20% (More) 3% (Less)

(Source: Statista)

% of social media users who say they:

  • Sometimes feel left out or excluded when using social media"
  • ~70% (low social-emotional well-being)  29% (high social-emotional well-being)
  • Have deleted social media posts because they got too few “likes”:
  • ~43% (low social-emotional well-being) 13% (high social-emotional well-being)
  • Feel bad about themselves if no one comments on or “likes” their posts:
  • ~43% (low social-emotional well-being) 11% (high social-emotional well-being)
  • Have ever been cyberbullied:
  • ~35% (low social-emotional well-being) 5% (high social-emotional well-being)

(Source: Statista)

Technology distracts teens from friends and other important things

  • 57% of all teens agree that using social media often distracts them when they should be doing homework
  • 54% of teen social media users agree that it often distracts them when they should be paying attention to the people they’re with
  • 29% of teen smartphone owners say they’ve been woken up by their phones during the night by a call, text, or notification
  • 42% of teens agree that social media has taken away from the time they could spend with friends in person

(Source: Common Sense Media)

Cyberbullying statistics

Source: Cyberbullying Research Center
  • 23.2% of teens have been bullied in the last month, while 4.9% had cyberbullied others in the last month 
  • 55% of cyberbullying victims are between the ages of 14 and 15 
  • 23.7% of girls and 21.9% of boys between the ages of 13 and 17 report being cyberbullied while 35.4% of transgender teens reported being cyberbullied

(Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)

Parents are worried

Source: Digital Information World
  • 65% of parents surveyed by Pew Researchers said they worry about their kids spending too much time in front of screens
  • 73% of parents believe that children should be at least 12 years old before having their own smartphone.  Only 22% think children should be allowed to have their own phone under the age of 12 (Source: Pew Research)
  • The majority of parents (68%) believe that the use of social media has a negative impact on their teen’s ability to socialize normally (Source:  Digital Information World)
  • 80% of parents have reported that they monitor their children and their social media and smartphone habits and 45% are using an app to restrict/limit their usage (Source: Digital Information World)
  • 56% of parents think that they spend too much time on their own smartphone (Source: Pew Research)

5 experts share social media statistics and advice for parents

As more teens head online to socialize, researchers are discovering some disturbing new trends. Nearly all teens now have access to a smartphone. With so much information, competition, and peer pressure now at their fingertips, experts worry that the technology is taking a toll. We asked 5 experts about some of the latest social media statistics and how the latest trends could be impacting your students.

1. Students are receiving their first phone around the time they enter the stage of human development where peer engagement is critical

Kathryn Ely, JD, MA, ALC, MA, Attorney & Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health

American youth are receiving their first phone right around the time they enter the stage of human development where peer engagement is critical. Teens use social media to explore social comparison, highlight the aspects of themselves they see as positive, and for self-disclosure. 

Teens can use social media to enhance their social development. But teens can also be negatively impacted by their own social media use. Social media use can also lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not developmentally appropriate.

How can we make sure our children are using social media in a positive way that strengthens their self-esteem and connections with peers, which are so crucial in this stage of development?

Model the behavior we want to see in them:
  • Avoid oversharing on social media. Ask our teens before we post about them
  • Have designated times every day when we shut down our devices and fully and intentionally engage in face to face contact, so our teens are learning verbal and non-verbal cues that are so important in communication
  • Giving teens our full attention when they talk to us and avoid glancing at our devices
  • Set clear, firm boundaries right when you give an adolescent a phone: The phone must be charged somewhere other than in the teen’s room at night. The phone will be shut off an hour before bed for good sleep hygiene. A parent has passwords and monitors social media use until he or she is comfortable the teen is using it in a healthy manner
  • Foster the teen's self-esteem on and off social media by supporting his/her positive inner qualities, rather than promoting popularity and appearances
Conversation starters for parents:
  • The most important thing to know about starting conversations with teens is to be present and look for the opportunities they give us. Lecturing every time you get in the car will not get you anywhere. Listen when your teen talks and asks questions. If you are talking and your teen mentions a friend shared something on social media, ask your teen “What do you think is too much to share?” and insert your opinion in a caring, understanding way
  • Have conversations with your children about being intentional with social media, devices having a time and place, and making good choices for their future
  • Remind your teen that everyone reviews social media sites, whether it’s a college admissions officer or a person interviewing them for a job

(Sources: Pediatrics, Pew Internet, and Common Sense Media) 

2. One in three children have been cyberbullied

Chelsea Brown, Digital Mom Talk 

One in three children are cyberbullied and 70% of children say they have cyberbullied someone online. It's becoming a growing problem with parents and children. However, cyberbullying is not a major concern for many parents since they aren't even sure what is classified as cyberbullying or when cyberbullying crosses legal lines.

Being an active and positive bystander is proven to be very effective to prevent bullying, but teens do not know how to do so online and are more likely to respond when the bullies are persistent. Many students refuse to call cyberbullies out as the tactics intensify, for fear of being included as well.

Studies are also being done to show that cyberbullying is more damaging than normal bullying. This is due to the tactics of cyberbullying being along the lines of psychological warfare for kids. The constant contact, the appearance of multiple targets, and the aspect of most cyberbullying being based on bullying in real life, has many children facing a semi-silent and unconquerable battle.

Sources: Enough.org, Cyberbullying.org, Wiley Online Library, SpringerLink 

3. Only half of parents with students ages 5 to 15 use parental controls

Paul Grattan, Law Enforcement Supervisor

Only half of the parents of kids ages 5-15 use parental controls, other content filters, or blockers. Of those who do not, the number one reason cited is that they trust their kids' online behavior. This is interesting because 9 out of 10 parents who do use them, find they block the right amount of content. (Source: Office of Communications UK research report).

At the same time, I caution this is only a basic first step. While most parents trust their children online, the nature of predatory behavior by bad actors can influence even the savviest and most trustworthy teen.

That's truly the nature of today's online threat - outside influences and actors. Much of the danger of increased connectivity and technology does not lie directly in the hands of our teens and their overt behavior, but rather in their susceptibility to influences and pressure.

4. Half of people ages 14 to 24 have experienced technologically abusive behavior

Alexandra Boscolo, Day One

Today's teens are constantly online, and abusers always find new ways to stalk and harass their targets.

Here are some important statistics from Day One:

  • 50% of people ages 14-24 have experienced technologically abusive behavior
  • 22% of people ages 14-24 in dating relationships say they feel like their partner checks up on them too often
  • A 2013 study found that the most frequent form of harassment or abuse was tampering with a partner’s social networking account without permission. Nearly 1 in 10 teens in relationships report having this happen to them in the past year
  • In the same survey, 7% of teens reported that their partner sent them texts/emails/etc. to engage in unwanted sexual acts. And 7% of teens reported being pressured to send a sexual or naked photo of themselves

5. Many Instagram accounts are fake and could pose a threat to students

Johnny Santiago, Social Catfish (tool to verify if people are really who they say they are online) 

According to a study by Italian security researchers, 8% of Instagram accounts are fake. Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps teens use.

This poses a risk and danger to teenagers from online catfishers. People behind the fake accounts can scam teens out of their money or even blackmail them. A catfisher is a person who creates a fake identity on a social network, usually with the intention of deceiving a specific victim. With this in mind, parents and teens alike should learn the signs that the person they're talking to online is a catfisher.

What can parents do?

Parents can teach their students how to manage their screen time, what can (and can’t) be posted online, the consequences of making mistakes on social media, and how to value offline activities over negative social media habits.

If your student doesn’t have access to social media or a device yet, help them prepare for their future digital footprint:

  • Don’t give your student a tablet or their first smartphone without having a conversation with them about digital safety
  • Talk with your student about what kind of content can be shared on social media and which social media networks they can use
  • Consider creating a family smartphone agreement that outlines all of the rules around safe cell phone use
  • Help your student set up their profiles on the networks you decide are safe for your family. We recommend using apps in our Smart Social Green Zone to build a positive digital footprint
  • Consistently monitor their online activity and have your own profiles on the same social networks they use
  • If you see negative behavior, don’t wait for the incident to get worse before talking to your student

If your student struggles with managing their screen time, help them develop a healthier relationship with their devices:

  • Lead by example and be the digital role model they need. If you don’t want your student constantly on their phone, then make sure you unplug when you want them to unplug
  • Configure your student’s devices with the built-in parental control settings such as Apple Screen Time, Digital Wellbeing, or Google Family Link
  • Instead of taking their devices away, set ground rules as the first step. Ensure that your student understands the consequences of not following the guidelines. This can empower students to self-regulate their screen time
  • Teach your children to use social media as a tool to shine online, instead of just as a pastime
  • Collect all of your family’s cell phones before bed each night and charge them in a specific place to avoid having your student check their phone all night
  • Always be on the apps that your student uses and monitor their activity. Use their behavior to have regular discussions around social media safety

Additional resources

MomTalk with Beth and Andrea

Conclusion

Students' social media use and screen time have increased drastically in the last decade. While the negative effects of social media on teens can be serious, it's impossible for parents to keep their teens offline forever. Instead, it’s important for parents to help their students prepare for a life in the digital world and build a positive digital footprint.

Students are you using this page for your homework and need to cite your source? Use this MLA format:

“Teen Social Media Statistics 2022 (What Students and Parents Need to Know).” SmartSocial, 14 Feb 2022, https://smartsocial.com/post/social-media-statistics



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