For the longest time Facebook has been the dominant force in social media, but now among America’s youth this platform is falling to the wayside. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, roughly half (51%) of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than those who use other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.
The social media landscape looked markedly different just three years ago. Pew conducted a survey of teen social media use in 2014-2015 and found that 71% of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52%) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41% reported using Snapchat.
In 2018, three online platforms other than Facebook – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat – are used by sizable majorities of this age group. According to the survey, 85% of teens say they use YouTube; 72% say they use Instagram; and 69% say they use SnapChat.
Apart from the usage, there is no clear consensus among teens about these platforms’ ultimate impact on people their age. About 45% believe social media has neither a positive nor a negative effect on people their age. On the other hand, roughly 31% say social media has had a mostly positive impact, while 24% describe its effect as mostly negative.
Also as smartphone access has become more prevalent, a growing share of teens now report using the internet on a near-constant basis. Some 45% of teens say they use the internet “almost constantly,” a figure that has nearly doubled from the 24% who said this in the 2014-2015 survey. Another 44% say they go online several times a day, meaning roughly nine-in-ten teens go online at least multiple times per day.