A recent Gallup survey of over 1,500 adolescents reveals that 51% of U.S. teenagers spend an average of 4.8 hours per day on various social media platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and X (Twitter). The study also indicates variations in social media usage among different age groups, with 17-year-olds spending the most time at 5.8 hours per day and 13-year-olds the least at 4.1 hours per day. Notably, girls spend nearly an hour more on social media daily than boys, with respective averages of 5.3 and 4.4 hours.
The data was collected as part of the Familial and Adolescent Health Survey, which examined various aspects of adolescent well-being, parenting practices, and youth activities. There is growing concern among scholars that excessive social media use may contribute to overconsumption and mental health problems. YouTube and TikTok emerge as the most popular platforms among teenagers, with Instagram also being widely used.
The study further delves into the impact of personality traits and parental restrictions on social media use. Adolescents with lower conscientiousness tend to spend more time on social media, while other Big 5 personality traits, including emotional stability, openness to experience, agreeableness, and extroversion, also influence usage, though to a lesser extent. Additionally, adolescents whose parents strongly restrict screen time tend to spend less time on social media. Parental ideology and education also play a role in screen time restrictions.
The findings highlight the relationship between social media use and conscientiousness, shedding light on how certain personality traits and parental guidance can influence teenagers’ screen time habits. This analysis contributes to the ongoing discussion regarding the impact of social media on teen mental health, with studies suggesting a connection between increased social media use and issues related to self-control and mental health.