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The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In , three online platforms other than Facebook — YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat — are used by sizable majorities of this age group.
The shares of teens who use Twitter and Tumblr are largely comparable to the shares who did so in the survey. For the most part, teens tend to use similar platforms regardless of their demographic characteristics, but there are exceptions. Notably, lower-income teens are more likely to gravitate toward Facebook than those from higher-income households — a trend consistent with Center surveys.
For details on social media platform use by different demographic groups, see Appendix A. YouTube and Reddit were not included as options in the survey but were included in the current survey. In addition, the survey required respondents to provide an explicit response for whether or not they used each platform, while the survey presented respondents with a list of sites and allowed them to select the ones they use.
Given the opportunity to explain their views in their own words, teens who say social media has had a mostly positive effect tended to stress issues related to connectivity and connection with others. Many of these responses emphasize how social media has made it easier to communicate with family and friends and to connect with new people:. It creates a space where you can interact with people. She reminds me of that a lot.
There is slightly less consensus among teens who say social media has had a mostly negative effect on people their age. It sometimes makes me feel that their life is perfect when it is not. Smartphone ownership is nearly universal among teens of different genders, races and ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Computer access also varies by the level of education among parents. As smartphone access has become more prevalent, a growing share of teens now report using the internet on a near-constant basis. The share of Hispanics who say they have access to a game console at home grew by 10 percentage points during this time period.
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Teens, Social Media and Technology