How Teens Are Really Using Social Media

A lot of kids are using social media these days, and even if that isn’t surprising to you, it may be surprising to you just how many of them are using it and just how much. Leveraging these popular social media tools in the classroom is a no-brainer: everything from Twitter and Facebook all the way to Instagram have found their way into lesson plans across the globe. Whether you’re using all of the social media sites, some of them, or none of them at all, chances are that your students are using them. 

The handy infographic below takes a look at the social media use of teens and tweens: What platforms are they using and how much? What is appropriate for them? How can you monitor their use and ensure their safety? Keep reading to learn more

Teens and Social Media

  • 95% of teens (12-17) use the internet
  • 81% use social media (compared with 72% of internet users overall)
  • 50% log into social media more than once per day
  • 21% of kids under 13 use social media sites
  • 26% of kids under 13 have a YouTube account
  • In a survey of girls aged 6-12 33% said they were saving their money to buy new technology
  • 20% said they were saving for a smartphone
  • 48% said that they have a cellphone
  • 51% of those said that they have a smartphone
  • The majority of teens are using laptops (35%) and tablets (32%) to access their favorite websites
  • YouTube is the most popular site, with 45% of teens saying they access it most often
  • In a survey of kids 8-12, 35% said that Facebook was a site that they didn’t use but was more for parents, while 38% said they use and enjoy Facebook
  • Only 8% of these kids reported using Twitter
  • 23% of tween girls reported Instagram as their favorite app
  • Snapchat prohibits users under 13, but since they don’t ask for age at sign up, it is unlikely that this is actually monitored
  • Kids can suffer increased narcissism and cyberbullying through increased social media use
  • However, it can also help them connect with others, share photos, exchange ideas, and get more involved with their community
  • Be aware of privacy settings, parental controls, and have an open conversation with kids about what is appropriate on social media to help keep them safe!

teens social media


  1. Chris Syme

    July 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

    It might be worth noting that much of this info comes from a skewed audience: teen girls on fashion sites.

  2. Bobbi Fox

    August 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    What do you think about teachers who ‘friend’ students on Facebook, and then use these pages to express disgust with the education system, political, or union bargaining issues openly on the same page?

    Is this appropriate, parents? Is it happening with your children or tweens? Are there ethical boundaries? How should it be resolved?

    • Kevin Tierney

      September 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Bobbi – I think it is totally inappropriate. I teach 8th grade history. I will not friend any current students on facebook and let my students know that once they are in high school if they would like to request me to be their friend I am fine with that. I do not use facebook as a platform for expressing disgust with the education system, politics, or union issues. I’m very careful about what I post because I know there are young minds that might be impressionable to the views of a former teacher. I want young people to come to their own conclusions on these issues. I take my role as a professional educator seriously and I believe it is wrong for teachers to “vent” in front of students.

  3. Misty

    August 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    All social media should be taken down. Kids are not responsible enough to be on these websites nor are most people in the world all you have to do is look at all the blogging with harassment, prejudice, narcissism in most forums. No laws were put into place when they made the internet or these social networks and I believe this is our biggest downfall. Now we have terrorists posting pics and trying to recruit through the internet (this is scary people and serious).People committing suicide to get attention. No child under the age of 16 should even have a cell phone let alone a Twitter acct or even Facebook. I never needed one growing up and i don’t like using the one I have now. Facebook is ruining lives of innocent people and have destroyed marriages…I’ve seen it first hand. I have written the government about getting laws put into place for the internet and social networks and I got a letter back saying there was nothing they could do about it. Come on Mr. President can’t you do more than that?…very sad :(