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Teens spend nearly 2 hours a day on TikTok and barely look at Facebook, a new study says. See how other apps stack up.

Haley Tenore   

Teens spend nearly 2 hours a day on TikTok — and barely look at Facebook, a new study says. See how other apps stack up.

Younger phone users are glued to TikTok for around two hours every day, according to a new study that tracked the screen time of kids from ages 11 to 17.

The median time each day spent on TikTok by the teens who use the app? An hour and 52 minutes. That compares to the one minute they spent on Facebook, 10 minutes on Snapchat, and 16 minutes on Instagram.

The only app that even comes close to the screen time gobbled up by TikTok was YouTube, clocking in at 40 minutes, according to the new study by Common Sense Media conducted with the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

And sleep and school may be getting pushed to the wayside in the era of the smartphone — at least for some of the young users. Teens are being bombarded with phone notifications. At least 50% in the study got 237 notifications in one day — and got up to 5,000 in a single day, according to the Common Sense Media's research.

Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization that focuses on media literacy and safety for children. This week, it released a study that delved into how young people are using their smartphones.

The study came from 203 smartphones of kids age 11 to 17. They'd agreed to have software installed that would track how they used their devices and for how long. (In some cases, teens racked up screen time of more than 16 hours in a day, according to the data the researchers gathered.)

Young people are using these apps the most

App nameAverage daily duration
Percentage of daily use**
TikTok1 hour, 52 minutes38.4%
YouTube40 minutes18.2%
Instagram16 minutes5.9%
Snapchat10 minutes3.6%
Discord7 minutes2.5%
Roblox6 minutes2.6%
Chrome4 minutes1.5%
Netflix3 minutes0.8%
Spotify1 minute0.6%
Facebook1 minute0.1%
Google quick search box1 minute0.6%
Amazon1 minute0.3%
Pinterest1 minute0.4%

Source: Common Sense Media and University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
*Median is the value that 50% of the users are under and 50% are over.
**Percentage of daily use is calculated among those who use the app and as a percentage of all their smartphone use in a day.

One key note: The study was comprised of only Android users because Apple doesn't share this type of data on iPhone users with researchers.

So, what are teens doing on their phones exactly? As expected, social media use took up the most time. Half of the teens surveyed spent over 153 minutes a day on social media. TikTok was the most used platform among this demographic. YouTube and gaming were also popular time killers.

According to Common Sense Media, kids may prefer TikTok over text-based apps like X, formerly Twitter, because users don't need to read or type. They can just passively scroll and have the algorithm cater to them. (X's screen time isn't calculated in the study.)

The average teen used their phone over four hours a day, Common Sense Media found, describing smartphones as a "constant companion," that both "provides background buzz," and "encourages constant pickups." And 9% of the teens surveyed had screen times of more than 10 hours.

But screen time might not always equate to having eyes glued to the screen. Some teens said they like to use their phones as background noise, according to the study. They would play videos, music, or podcasts in the background while doing other tasks like homework or chores.

Still, 59% of the adolescents surveyed had phone activity between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m., whether that be playing nature noises to sleep or scrolling through TikTok at 3 in the morning.

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