YouTube is more popular than TikTok among teens

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While the days of Nyan Cat and Salad Fingers are over, teens still love YouTube.

According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, YouTube is the most popular social media platform among teens ages 13 to 17. They found that 95 percent of teens surveyed use YouTube, and 19 percent of those teens use YouTube “almost constantly.” The study surveyed teens on their use of YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, WhatsApp, Reddit, and Tumblr. Perhaps next time, they’ll include BeReal.

The rise of TikTok has led to the popular misconception that teens only have the attention span for short-form video content, but the popularity of YouTube shows that teens still have an appetite for the long-form content found on the platform. Just look at the popularity of video essays on the platform.

Pew found that the reigning queen of short-form content, TikTok, was the second most popular platform with 67 percent of teens saying they used the platform. Of those who use TikTok, 15 percent say they use it “almost constantly.” TikTok and YouTube’s dominance among teens reveals just how much video content Gen Z consumes, which makes sense seeing as they are the first generation of digital natives. And YouTube, unlike other platforms on this list, doesn’t require a person to set up an account and configure an algorithm, making it more accessible to a wider demographic of teens.

Facebook remains on the decline with teens. “Today, 32 percent of teens report ever using Facebook, down 39 points since 2014-15, when 71 percent said they ever used the platform,” reads the study. They also found that Twitter and Tumblr usage has dropped since its heyday in 2014.

However, with the oldest members of Generation Alpha entering their teens in 2023, there might be a shift in social media consumption among young people. Early studies already suggest Gen Alpha is spending less time online.

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