New Report Says One in Five Teenagers Say They Are on TikTok or YouTube ‘Almost Constantly’

CarlosBarquero/Shutterstock RoseStudio/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Cox

In case you didn’t know, everything that has gone wrong in the world is because of young people having too much screen time. We’re there chomping on cinnamon, punching teachers, and even filming them covertly as the education system becomes more digitized than ever.

With TikTok having 1 billion users and the app’s minimum age being thirteen, we can assume there are millions of young people consuming the internet — which makes this new report not even that surprising, to be honest.

Still, as the ‘TikTok Red Scare‘ rumbles on, everyone’s predictably getting their knickers in a twist once again over kids using their phones.

In a survey of 1,453 13-to-17-year-olds, Pew asked teens about their relationship with social media and technology. They found that YouTube is the most “widely used” platform, as 93% of respondents said they regularly use it.

Meanwhile, 63% of respondents said they used TikTok regularly, while 60% preferred Snapchat (60%) and Instagram (59%) for their screen time. So far, nothing that surprising, But the part of the study a lot of people are picking up on is the fact that according to Pew, a third of teenagers use at least one of the five most popular platforms “almost constantly.”

But as surveyor Megan A. Moreno explained to Yahoo, there are a lot of different ways to interpret “constantly.”

“There may be one teenager who goes on TikTok for a few minutes in the morning while they’re eating a bowl of cereal, but on their way to the bus stop, they’re thinking about what they saw,” she said.

“Then they might talk to their friend about what they saw. And they might consider that time spent thinking or talking about TikTok as part of their ‘almost constant’ use.”

Which seems more likely to you? Millions of children hooked up to an iPhone IV consuming eight screens at once? Or a couple of teens ‘constantly’ using Snapchat by definition because they talk about the app and people on there as opposed to just using it straight up?

The latter seems a lot more feasible than the former, but let’s be real for a second. People love bashing the internet as the next big thing to kill our kids, just like bikers in the ’90s and rock and roll in the ’80s. Every generation has a fixation on a thing that’s going to ruin their kids (for me, it was violent video games), but there’s no evidence to suggest that’s happening at the moment.

We should also consider just how digitized the schooling experience has become and how much screen time independent of school really takes place. And finally, don’t make me say it, but I probably need to.

The pandemic likely stunted a lot of kids’ development as a generation who spent their formative years on iPads. Who cares if they want to watch a little more YouTube? If you’re that interested in child welfare, there are a lot more pressing matters to attend to than a silly little video.

Ultimately, the internet is meant to be a place for fun, and instead of sulking and shaking a perennial fist, we should embrace it and work with young people rather than against it.

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