By Mike Murphy
America’s teens are online more than ever, but they aren’t spending much of that time on Facebook, according to a new report released Thursday.
A Pew Research Center study on teens, social media and technology found that just 51% of teens aged 13-17 use Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +3.03% , down 20 percentage points since the last such survey in 2015.
YouTube, from Alphabet Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.09% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +0.20% Google, was the most popular platform by far, with 85% of teens saying they used it. Facebook’s Instagram was second, with 72%, and Snap Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/205087158/composite SNAP +3.22% Snapchat was third, with 69%.
When it came to which online platform they used the most, Snapchat edged out YouTube, 35% to 32%. Instagram came in a distant third, at 15%, while Facebook managed just 10%. Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +2.97% rounded out the top five on both lists, with just 32% of teens saying they used it, and only 3% saying it was their most-used social network.
Pew Research Center
The news is troubling for Facebook. Earlier this year, a report from eMarketer projected the number of Facebook users between the ages of 12 and 17 would fall by 5.6% this year, while the number of users from 18-24 would drop 5.8%. The one consolation for Facebook is that Instagram remains popular with young people.
About 89% of teens said they were online at least several times a day, with 45% saying they were online “almost constantly” — about double the number from 2015. About 95% of teens said they owned a smartphone, up from 75% two years ago.
The study also found that almost all teens play video games — 97% of boys and 83% of girls.
While many adults worry that social-media use is harmful to teens, almost a third of those surveyed said it had a positive effect, while 44% said it was neither positive nor negative.
The study was conducted using 750 teens during a one-month period this spring, Pew said.