Tweens/Teens Pick YouTube

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Where do tweens and teens spend their screen time?

According to a new study, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, it’s on YouTube.

An update of a 2015 study, the report finds that 76% of 8-12-year-olds watch YouTube, although YouTube is intended for audiences 13 and older. In addition, the percentage of young people watching online videos “every day” has doubled, to 56% from 24% among 8-12-year-olds. That figure is up to 69% from 34% among 13–18-year-olds.

Sixty-seven percent of tweens – and 58% of teens – say they enjoy watching online videos a lot. Among teens, this compares to 43% who like playing video games a lot, 41% for using social media and 33% for watching a TV set.


Apparently, there’s not a lot of creativity going on. Just 2% of tweens and 3% of teens said they make their own content, although nearly two-thirds said they “often or sometimes” watch videos about how to make stuff or do things of interest.

All told, these two demographic categories spend a lot of time with screens. Tweens average just under five hours of screen media a day (4 hours, 44 minutes), and teens about seven and a half hours (7 hours, 22 minutes) daily. These figures do not include use of screens at school or for homework.

The study also reveals that lower-income youth “spend nearly two more hours with entertainment screen media each day than those from higher-income households.”

These are “worrisome indicators as our most vulnerable population — our kids — are spending a lot of time on unregulated, unrated platforms that deliver content that can be inappropriate or even dangerous,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “And the shift from TV to online viewing means kids are often watching content alone, and there are fewer opportunities for shared experiences with family.”

Common Sense surveyed 1,677 8-18-year-olds in the US about their media use habits.

To read the entire report, visit Common Sense. You can also watch a short video summarizing the research.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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