Quick Facts

2018 Digital Media and Developing Minds Conference
1. 95% of teens have access to a smartphone; 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly.’ 1

2. 59% of US teens have been bullied or harassed online, and a similar share says it’s a major problem for people their age. At the same time, teens mostly think teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at addressing this issue.2

3. The proportion of teens who say their favorite way to communicate with their friends “in person” has dropped from 49% in 2012 (when it was their top choice) to 32% today (a close second to texting).3

4. Social media is significantly more important in the lives of those who are lowest on the social-emotional well-being scale.3

5. Only 2% of children have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.6

6. Children ages 8-10 spend about 6 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media, nearly 4 of these are spent watching television.4

7. Out of nearly 6,000 of the most popular free children’s apps, 19% collect some level of identifying information using software that is prohibited from use in apps made for kids. 7

8. Girls are more likely than boys to say Snapchat is the site they use most often (42% vs. 29%), while boys are more inclined than girls to identify YouTube as their go to platform (39% vs. 25%).1

9. 95% of school leaders say students get too much screen time at home.2

10. 42% of teens say they have been called offensive names online or via their cell phone.2

11. On average, most school leaders (64%) say that students are spending the right amount of time using screens in schools.5

12.Nearly three out of four teens (72%) believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.3

13. White teens (41%) are more likely than Hispanic (29%) or Black (23%) teens to say Snapchat is the online platform they use most often, while Black teens are more likely than whites to identify Facebook as their most used site (26% vs. 7%).1

14. Two-thirds of children (60.6%) now trust the news less as a result of fake news.6

15. Youth ages 15-18 spend about 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media, nearly 4.5 of these are spent watching television.4

16. Overall, leaders prefer paper and pencil for improving reading ability, practicing new math concepts and skills, taking notes, and learning new math concepts and skills. They prefer devices with screens for conducting research and taking standardized tests.2

17. Many teens say they’ve had to take a break from their devices at some point just to give themselves some space from “digital drama.”3

18. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of teen social media users in 2018 say they “often” or “sometimes” come across racist, sexist, homophobic, or religious-based hate content in social media.3

19. About a third (32%) of teens say someone has spread false rumors about them on the internet.2

20. Youth ages 11-14 spend nearly 9 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media, nearly 5 of these are spent watching television.4

21. Nearly half (47%) of teens who have a smartphone say they are “addicted” to it, but far fewer say they are “addicted” to social media (24% of social media users).3

22. 57% of parents of teens say they worry about their teen receiving or sending explicit images.2

23. Girls are more likely than boys to report being the recipient of explicit images they did not ask for (29% vs. 20%).2

24. Exposure to violent media is not simply a harmless form of entertainment. Hundreds of studies have shown that exposure to violent media is a risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior, and can make people numb and less likely to help others.8

25. More than two-thirds (68%), regardless of whether they use social media themselves, agree with the statement “Social media has a negative impact on many people my age.3

  1. Pew Research Center, May 2018, “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018.”
  2. Pew Research Center, September 2018, “A Majority of Teens Have Experienced Some Form of Cyberbullying.”
  3. Rideout, V., and Robb, M. B., (2018). Social Media, Social LIfe: Teens Reveal Their Experiences. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media.
  4. "NCCDPHP: Community Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 13, 2017. Accessed October 11, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dch/multimedia/infographics/getmoving.htm.
  5. School Leader and Technology: Results from a National Survey Education(Rep.). (2018). Retrieved https://www.edweek.org/media/school- leaders-and-technology-education-week-research.pdf
  6. The Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills (2017) Fake News and Critical Literacy: Final Report. London, UK: The National Literacy Trust.
  7. Reyes, I., Wijesekera, P., Reardon, J., On, A. E., Razaghpanah, A., Vallina- Rodriguez, N., & Egelman, S. (2018). “Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?” Examining COPPA Compliance at Scale. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2018(3), 63-83. doi:10.1515/popets-2018-0021
  8. Anderson, C.A., Bushman, B.J., Bartholow, B.D., Cantor, J., Christakis, D., Coyne, S.M., Donnerstein, E., Brockmyer, J.F., Gentile, D.A., Green, C.S., Huesmann, R., Hummer, T., Krahé, B., Strasburger, V.C., Warburton, W., Wilson, B.J., & Ybarra, M. (2017). Screen Violence and Youth Behavior. Pediatrics, 140(140S2). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1758T