Back in 2012, 41% of teenagers owned smartphones. In 2018, six years later, teen ownership of smartphones has increased to 89%, according to a recent study of 1,141 American teens between the ages of 13 and 17, conducted by Common Sense Media.
The study also found that 70% of teens checked social media multiple times throughout the day, as opposed to just 34% back in 2012. Today’s teenagers, also known as Generation Z, have all been born into a digital world. Smartphones are a part of their lives, being their main source of news and entertainment. Social media platforms enable teenagers to contact friends and family and keep up with news, but they also act as a large distraction.
The study determined:
- 57% of teens admitted that social media on smartphones distracted them from homework
- 54% stated social media distracted them from conversations they were having face to face
The way teens frequently use smartphones today is beneficial for marketers. Almost three out of four teenagers or 73% check their social media daily, which means teens are constantly under the exposure of online advertising messages. Instagram and Snapchat have taken popularity over Facebook, which teens believe to be a more dated social media platform.
With the increase in smartphone usage of teens, there are increased concerns about teens’ mental health and well-being, as well as exposure to and impact of cyber bullying. The study showed that overall, more teens believed social media had a positive effect on them, although 13% experienced cyberbullying and loneliness at one point or another.