For the latest findings, read: Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health, sponsored by Common Sense Media, Hopelab, and California Health Care Foundation.
To see a fact sheet about U.S. adults’ use of online health resources, please visit the main Research page.
Below are excerpts from three research reports focused on teens and young adults:
- Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018, by Monica Anderson and Jingjing Jiang (Pew Research Center)
- Digital Health Practices, Social Media Use, and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S., by Victoria Rideout and Susannah Fox (Hopelab and Well Being Trust)
- Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences, by Victoria Rideout and Michael B. Robb (Common Sense Media)
Online access among teens and young adults:
95% of teens say they have or have access to a smartphone and 88% of teens say they have access to a desktop or laptop computer at home. (Pew Internet)
94% of young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) say they have access to a smartphone. 98% of 18-29 year-olds say they use the internet. (Pew Internet)
84% of teens say they have or have access to a game console at home, and 90% say they play video games of any kind. (Pew Internet)
Nine in ten teens are online daily: 45% say they use the internet “almost constantly” and an additional 44% say they go online several times a day. (Pew Internet)
Social media use among teens and young adults:
89% of teens (14- to 17-year-olds) say they use at least one social media platform, compared with 96% of young adults (18- to 22-year-olds) who say they do. (Hopelab/Well Being Trust)
YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens – see chart above. (Pew Internet)
41% of teens say Snapchat is their primary social media site. (Common Sense Media)
70% of teens say they use social media sites multiple times per day and 57% of teens agree that social media distracts them from doing their homework. (Common Sense Media)
14% of teens say they “often” post selfies, compared with 8% of young adults. (Hopelab/Well Being Trust)
Online health pursuits among teens and young adults:
All data points below are drawn from the report sponsored by Hopelab/Well Being Trust.
Young adults (18- to 22-year-olds) are more likely than teens (14- to 17-year-olds) to say they access all types of online health resources – information, peer advice, personal stories, connections to health providers, and health-related apps. There are no differences in how helpful those in different age groups find the online resources they use.
- 94% of young adults say they have gone online for health information, compared to 79% of teens. The largest differences are in the older group’s searches for information on pregnancy (a 28 percentage point difference), anxiety (26 point difference), depression (23 point difference), birth control (22 point difference), and stress (22 point difference).
- 76% of young adults say they have tried a health-related mobile app, compared with 49% of teens. On average, young adults say they have tried two health apps, whereas teens have typically tried just one. A third (34%) of the older group reports currently using a mobile health app, compared to 14% of the teens.
- 69% of young adults say they have watched or read something online about other people’s health experiences, compared to 52% of teens.
- 51% of young adults say they have tried to find people online with health concerns similar to their own, compared to 25% of teens.
- 20% of young adults report sharing their own health experiences online, whether through social media, blog posts, or videos; 8% of teens report doing so.
- 28% of young adults say they have connected to health providers online, compared to 10% of teens.