Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018: Pew Research Center

Time to sink our teeth into the latest data thanks to Pew Research Center’s Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018 Report.

Thirteen to seventeen year olds in America were surveyed earlier this year about their use of social media and technology, with the summarised findings released today.

Highlights include a shift away from the Facebook platform, increased ownership of devices (95% have access to a smartphone) and almost 45% reporting they are almost constantly online.

What can we take from this? Teens are, unsurprisingly, spending more time online than ever.

In terms of how we reach this audience to share news of our programs, services and YA literature generally it is worth noting the increase in usage of image-based platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. These applications work best on mobile devices and are skewed to short, sharp bursts of information and visuals.

YouTube also ranks highly. While some evidence suggests YouTube has a positive impact for young people’s self esteem there are also concerns such as how it influences consumerism in this demographic.

Figures for gaming have also increased, up to a whopping 90% of teens regularly playing video games. Some people see games as filled with possibilities or breaking new storytelling ground, while other critics feel mainstream video games are failing to tell good stories.

Before moaning about the demise of the written word, it’s worth looking into how teens use YouTube and other platforms. From popular hashtags on Instagram such as #LoveOzYA and #bookstagram which encourage discovery of what their peers are reading to teens listening to free audiobooks via YouTube, there are plenty of ways to harness these technologies for good.

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