Almost Half of Teens Say They're 'Online' All Day, But Not on Facebook

New research from Pew shines a light on the tech habits of Generation Z.

Unsplash / Elijah O'Donell

A big defining factor of Generation Z, as the post-millennial generation has been dubbed, is that they’re the first generation to grow up with the internet as a ubiquitous part of everyday life. Unlike many millennials, Gen Z has never known a world that didn’t involve friend requests. The proof of this couldn’t be more obvious than in Pew’s latest study of teenage technology use.

According to a recent survey conducted by the nonpartisan American research center, a shocking 45 percent of teens now say they are online on a “near constant basis.” Like, online all day, every day. That’s nearly double the 24 percent of teens that said they were online all day when Pew conducted the same survey in between 2014 and 2015. A further 44 percent of teens say they go online several times a day; added together, it means nine in 10 teens are online multiple times a day.

While today’s teens might be comfortable living out their youths in the virtual realm, they’re not doing it on one of the biggest social media platforms. Apparently, only half of teens — 51 percent, to be specific — are currently on Facebook. That’s down from 71 percent of teens who said they were on the platform last time Pew conducted this kind of study.

What Kinds of Teens Are Always Online?

Pew found a couple of interesting statistics related to demographics. While 50 percent of girls are near-constantly online, only 39 percent of boys reported the same. Also, Pew mentioned that fifty four percent of Hispanic teenagers reported being constantly online, compared to 41 percent of white teens. Pew didn’t delve into any theories on why certain demographics were more likely to be constantly online than others.

What Are They Using Instead of Facebook?

While Facebook has been usurped, a majority of teens are still logging onto social apps to connect. YouTube was the real winner, with 85 percent of teens saying they use the platform. A significant portion of teens, at 72 percent, also use Instagram, while 69 percent use Snapchat. It’s important to note that this year’s survey included YouTube and Reddit for the first time.

Something that could contribute to this shift is that a whopping 95 percent of teens say they own a smartphone, or have access to one. That’s up from only three-quarters of teens in the last survey. This near-ubiquitous access could account for why mobile-specific social apps like Instagram and Snapchat have acquired such gains. Or maybe Facebook is just boring now.

The survey was conducted using the NORC AmeriSpeak panel, a nationally representative, probability-based panel of U.S. household populations. A selection of 1,058 parents and 743 teens between 13 and 17 were interviewed over the phone and online, between March 7 and April 10 this year.