How many hours are children looking at screens – and what apps are they using?
It’s no secret that children spend most of their days scrolling through smartphones. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children and teenagers spend between six and nine hours looking at a screen. But what are they looking at?
New data compiled by the Cribbage Challenge breaks down how many minutes kids spend each day on a range of popular social media and streaming apps, with 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 much time children spend on streaming services:
- YouTube: 77 minutes
- Netflix: 52 minutes
- Disney+: 42 minutes
- Amazon Prime: 35 minutes
- Hulu: 34 minutes
- Twitch: 19 minutes
“Thanks to advances in technology and accessibility, kids today are spending more time online than ever before,” said a spokesperson for the Cribbage Challenge. “TikTok and YouTube are by far the most used apps for kids in the US, followed by Snapchat and Netflix.”
“However, other applications such as Facebook and Twitter scored very low among children and teenagers,” the representative added. “These social media channels may need to connect with younger audiences if they want to remain popular in the future.”
This new figure comes as many have expressed concern about the amount of time minors are spending on social media apps, particularly in the wake of data released by Meta – Facebook’s parent company – revealing how damaging Instagram can be to girls’ self-esteem .
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At the time, researchers found that 32% of teenage girls who felt “bad about their bodies” said the time they spent on Instagram made the problem worse.
“Teens told us they don’t like spending time on the app, but they feel like they need to be present,” explained one of Instagram’s research managers. “They often feel ‘addicted’ and know what they are seeing is bad for their mental health, but feel powerless to stop themselves.
With these concerns in mind, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced legislation to impose age limits on access to social media platforms. The measure, the Making Age-Verification Technology Uniform, Robust and Effective Act, would prevent social media users under 16 from creating accounts.
The senator is also pushing to authorize a federal study on the effects of social media on users 18 and younger.
“Kids suffer from the effects of social media every day,” Hawley explained. “At best, Big Tech companies are ignoring the health of our children and monetizing their personal data. At worst, they are complicit in their exploitation and manipulation. It’s time to give parents the weapons they need to fight back.”
“We need to set a precedent that these companies can no longer take advantage of our children,” he added.