How Many Hours Are Kids Spending Looking at Screens — And What Apps Are They Using?
It’s no secret kids are spending a great portion of their days scrolling smartphones. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports children and teens spend between six and nine hours looking at screens. But what are they looking at?
New data compiled by Cribbage Challenge breaks down the number of minutes kids are spending each day on a host of popular social media and streaming apps, with the video-sharing app TikTok leading the way:
- TikTok: 113 minutes
- Snapchat: 90 minutes
- Pinterest: 20 minutes
- Facebook: 18 minutes
- Reddit: 13 minutes
- Twitter: 10 minutes
The analysis also collected data on how long kids are spending on streaming services:
- YouTube: 77 minutes
- Netflix: 52 minutes
- Disney+: 42 minutes
- Amazon Prime: 35 minutes
- Hulu: 34 minutes
- Twitch: 19 minutes
“Children today are spending more time online than ever before due to technology advances and accessibility,” a spokesperson for Cribbage Challenge said. “TikTok and YouTube are by far the most commonly used apps for children in the U.S., followed by Snapchat and Netflix.”
“However, other apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, scored very lowly among children and teens,” the representative added. “These social media channels may need to engage with younger audiences if they want to remain popular in the future.”
This new data comes as many have raised concerns about the amount of time minors spend on social media apps, particularly in the wake of data released by Meta — Facebook’s parent company — revealing how harmful Instagram can be to girls’ self-esteem.
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At the time, researchers found 32% of teen girls who “felt bad about their bodies” said the problem was made worse by time spent on Instagram.
“Teens told us that they don’t like the amount of time they spend on the app, but feel like they have to be present,” explained one Instagram research manager. “They often feel ‘addicted’ and know that what they’re seeing is bad for their mental health but feel unable to stop themselves.”
With those concerns in mind, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced legislation to implement age restrictions to access social media platforms. The measure, the “Making Age-Verification Technology Uniform, Robust, and Effective Act,” would block social media users younger than 16 years old from creating accounts.
The senator is also pushing for the authorization of a federal study into the impact social media is having on users 18 years old and younger.
“Children suffer every day from the effects of social media,” Hawley explained. “At best, Big Tech companies are neglecting our children’s health and monetizing their personal information. At worst, they are complicit in their exploitation and manipulation. It’s time to give parents the weapons they need to strike back.”
“We must set the precedent that these companies can no longer take advantage of our children,” he added.
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