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Social Media Addiction Statistics

Social Media Addiction Statistics: Facts, Stats & Trends in 2024

Social media has become integral to our everyday lives, and so it is crucial to understand how social media addiction works -- its causes, impact on society and treatment options. We’ve compiled some of the best social media addiction statistics addressing these topics and more.

Samuel OkoruwaSamuel ChapmanEugenie Tiu

Written by Samuel Okoruwa (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu (Editorial Assistant)

Last Updated: 2024-01-19T14:14:47+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways: Social Media Addiction

  • Social media addiction becomes more prevalent as social media platforms proliferate. 
  • Younger people have a higher likelihood of experiencing social media addiction than people from older generations. 
  • Social media addiction has been linked to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. It can be treated by limiting social media use and engaging in offline hobbies and productive activities.
Social media addiction, by the numbers.

On the surface, social media addiction might seem trivial. However, compounding evidence suggests that this very real addiction can have significant effects on a person’s mental health. In this article, we’ve compiled social media statistics, facts and trends from some of the most reliable sources online.

To understand social media addiction, it’s important to analyze the factors that lead to it, the demographics most affected by it, and how people around the world interact with social media platforms.

Our social media addiction stats provide a comprehensive look at the situation by addressing fundamental questions such as “Who’s using social media?” and “How does social media addiction affect teenagers?”

Besides addiction, several other risks are associated with social media, including phishing, cyberbullying, identity theft and scams. Children and adolescents are the most vulnerable to these risks.

We’ll start with a breakdown of the various social media platforms and how they are used around the world. These include Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok and Instagram. 

5 Key Social Media Addiction Statistics

  • The top reasons for social media use are keeping in touch with friends and family, filling spare time, and finding online content.
  • Three-quarters (77%) of teens use YouTube daily.
  • 4.8 billion people use social media and 210 million people suffer from social media addiction, meaning 4%-5% of users are addicted to social media worldwide.
  • In the United States, around 30% of users think they are social media addicts.
  • More than half (54%) of teens say it’s hard to quit social media.

Social Media Platforms: Who’s Using Them & How?

who uses social media
More than 80% of American adults between 18 and 49 use social media.

Billions of people of all ages, genders, occupations, ethnicities and geographic locations use social media accounts. Trends show that social media usage increases the younger the population segment is. Unsurprisingly, many individuals say they use social media platforms mainly to connect with others. 

1. Gen Z Makes Up the Majority of Social Media Users

Social media is most popular among Generation Z, with Millennials coming in a close second, and Generation X and Baby Boomers falling far behind. 

According to a study conducted on Americans by the Pew Research Center, 84% of young adults aged 18 to 29 are active social media users; that number decreases to 81% for adults aged 30 to 49. The gap widens with adults aged 50 to 64, of whom 73% say they use social media. Way behind these age groups are those aged 65 and older, just 45% of whom say they use social media.1

Generational Percentage of Social Media Users

2. Most Americans Use Social Media to Stay Connected

The percentage of each generation that uses social media for these reasons varies, however. For example, the percentage of each generation that uses social media to keep in touch with friends and family includes 46% of Gen Z, 49% of Millennials, 55% of Gen X and 60% of Boomers.

Generational Use of Social Media to Keep in Touch With Friends and Family

46%: Gen Z

49%: Millennials

55%: Gen X

60%: Baby Boomers

According to the survey, filling spare time is the next reason why most American adults use social media, while finding content comes in as the third reason.

When it comes to filling spare time, the percentage of each generation that cite this reason includes 42% of Gen Z, 38% of Millennials, 36% of Gen X and 34% of boomers.2

3. Facebook Is Still the World’s Favorite Platform

According to Search Engine Journal, Facebook is the most preferred social media platform, with around 2.9 billion worldwide users. The second biggest social media platform is YouTube, with over 2 billion users across the globe.

The report also shows that WhatsApp and Instagram are the third and fourth biggest social media platforms, respectively, with each having about 2 billion users.17

4. For Marketers, Social Media Is Big Business

People also use social media for marketing and advertising purposes. A study by HubSpot found that 84% of marketers use social media to target potential customers.16

How Social Media Usage is Changing

how social media is changing
Short-form video is gaining popularity because it is easily shareable.

Social media usage patterns are always changing. These statistics show how social media trends have shifted over the years.

5. Reduced Time Spent on Social Media

The average person has reduced the time they spend online by 20 minutes per day since January 2022, according to a Dataportal report. A similar survey by the same company showed that the typical working-age user spent six hours and 57 minutes per day online in 2021, but that has fallen to six hours and 37 minutes per day in 2022.9

Video consumption on social media has reached a new high. The number of users who watch video content has increased 5% since Q1 2022 across a range of platforms.10

7. Social Media Taps Into the Human Need For Connection

As social creatures, humans are wired to process social information at a high level, and we thrive on connection. Social media has capitalized on this inclination to grow at breakneck speed.

Roughly 7% of American adults used social media in 2005, according to MIT News. By 2017, 80% of American adults used Facebook, and that’s just one platform. About 4.8 billion people, out of roughly 8 billion people worldwide, use social media today.11

8. Social Media Is Dynamic

Social media popularity is always shifting. Facebook usage has decreased by 9.6% from 2019 to 2022, while TikTok’s share of social media time has increased by 12.2%.12 Insider Intelligence estimates that TikTok will reach a major landmark, joining Facebook and Instagram with at least 1 billion monthly users worldwide by 2025.18

The Prevalence of Social Media Addiction

social media addiction
Around 30% of Americans think of themselves as social media addicts.

According to Healthline, “Addiction is a chronic dysfunction of the brain that involves reward, motivation and memory. It’s about the way your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of ‘reward’ and lack of concern over consequences.”20

Experts estimate that millions of Americans are addicted to social media apps, with the younger generation being more susceptible to social media addiction.

9. Millions of People Worldwide Are Addicted to Social Media

According to a study by researchers Longstreet and Brooks, the number of people who suffer from social media addiction worldwide is estimated to be about 210 million.6

Percentage of Addiction Among Worldwide Social Media Users

10. Social Media Addiction Differs Across Demographics 

A media report published by ThinkNow breaks down the prevalence of social media addiction among Americans across several demographics, including age, gender and ethnicity. In general, nearly 30% of Americans think of themselves as social media addicts, but the metrics show notable changes in different demographic groups.7

The report indicates that social media addiction is more common in young people. The youngest demographic bracket surveyed was 18 to 22 year olds, of which 40% reported as addicted to social media. That number fell to 37% for the 23 to 38 year olds, 26% for the 39 to 54 year olds and 21% for the 55 to 64 year olds.

According to the report by ThinkNow, 26% of American men and 34% of American women are addicted to social media. 

The ThinkNow Survey found that 32% of White Americans suffer from social media addiction. Hispanic Americans followed, with 29% addicted to social media, then Asian Americans at 27% and African Americans at 25%. 

11. Gen Z and Millennials Frequent Social Media More

A Survey by Mckinsey & Company conducted on 42,000 respondents in 26 countries found that almost 50% of both Gen Z and Millennials check social media multiple times a day; 35% of Gen Z say they spend more than two hours a day on social media. However, Millennials are the most active, with 32% stating they post daily or multiple times a day.8

How Teens Use Social Media 

teen social media
The most popular social media for U.S. teens include YouTube (95%)
and TikTok (67%), followed by Instagram and Snapchat.

Social media has become integral to the lives of many teenagers, but its impacts on growing up are still uncertain. To understand how social media affects teenagers, it’s essential to understand how they use it and what they use it for. 

In this section, we’ll explore the different ways in which social media affects teenagers and their relationship to the world. Here are the stats showing how teenagers use social media. 

In this section, we’ll explore the different ways in which social media affects teenagers and their relationship to the world. Here are the stats showing how teenagers use social media. 

12. Teens Use YouTube More Frequently

A Pew Research Center survey of teens between the ages of 13 to 17 found that about three-quarters (77%) of teens use YouTube daily, while a smaller majority of teens (58%) say they’re on TikTok just as frequently. Roughly half of teens say they use Instagram (50%) or Snapchat (51%) at least once a day, while 19% claim daily use of Facebook.3

Daily Social Media Use: 13-17 yo

77%: YouTube

58%: TikTok

51%: Snapchat

50%: Instagram

19%: Facebook

13. A Majority of US Teens Post About Their Accomplishments

Roughly 43% of U.S. teens say their social media posts are about their accomplishments, 34% say their posts are about their family and 25% share posts about their emotions and feelings, according to the Pew Research Center study. Only one in 10 teens report posting about their dating life, personal issues or their political and religious beliefs.5

What Teens Post About on Social Media

14. Teen Girls Prefer Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat

There are stark differences in the way teens use social media. Another Pew survey conducted on U.S. teens shows that teen boys are more likely to use YouTube (97%), Twitch (26%) and Reddit (20%), while teen girls prefer Instagram (69%), TikTok (73%) and Snapchat (64%).

The survey also shows that Black and Hispanic teens use platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp more than White teens.15

Social media platform preferences for teens have shifted over the years. According to Pew Research Center, YouTube is currently the most-used social media platform by teens, with 95% of U.S. teens using it. TikTok is the second most popular, with 67% of teens using it, followed by Instagram and Snapchat, which are both used by about six in 10 teens.15

Most Used Social Media by Teens

95%: YouTube

67%: TikTok

60%: Snapchat

60%: Instagram

How Social Media Affects Teens

social media affect teens
Around 40% of U.S. teens avoid posting on social media, fearing embarrassment.

Social media affects the behavior of teens in different ways. Here are the stats showing how social media can affect teens. 

16. Most Teens Are Concerned About What They Post on Social Media

Roughly 40% of American teens — particularly teenage girls — avoid posting certain things on social media due to the fear of embarrassment, according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center.

In the same study, about 38% of teens said they avoid posting things on social media that deviate from how they like to present themselves, while 27% cited the fear of jeopardizing future academic or career opportunities as their reason for not posting.3

17. Most Teens Report Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

A net 54% of teens said they’d have a hard time quitting social media, 36% said they spend too much time on social media and 55% thought they spent the right amount of time on social media. Only 8% of teens said they spend too little time on social media. Girls were more likely than boys to say that it would be difficult to quit social media (58% vs 49%).3

How Teens View Time Spent on Social Media

18. There’s a Correlation Between Time Spent on Social Media and Mental Health

A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that teens who spend more than three hours per day on social media may have a higher risk of developing mental health issues.4

Social Media Addiction: Causes and Symptoms

social media addiction causes
Social media addiction could cause someone to limit their social interaction.

Unfortunately, social media addiction can occur due to several mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There’s also reason to believe that addictive behavior could stem from the way social media platforms are designed. 

19. Social Media Creators Benefit From Addictive Behavior

A 2020 paper published in Business Ethics Quarterly pointed out that creators of social media platforms benefit when people are addicted to social media and might build these platforms with elements that fuel social media addiction.19

20. Antisocial Behavior Fuels Social Media Addiction

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), social media addiction can occur due to low self-presentation skills and a preference for online social interaction over in-person communication, resulting in excessive social media use.13

21. Social Media Addiction Has a Range of Behavioral Symptoms

According to GoodRX Health, social media addiction can manifest as a range of behavioral symptoms. A person addicted to social media may spend excessive amounts of time on social media. They may find themselves getting distracted by social media when doing other activities or hobbies.

Social media addiction also has a significant impact on social life. A person addicted to social media may limit socializing to use social media.

Social media addiction can also cause one to feel irritable or anxious when they can’t use social media platforms. People who are addicted to social media use social media platforms to distract themselves from unwanted emotions.17

How to Treat Social Media Addiction

social media addiction
If you’re concerned about your social media use,
try a digital detox or setting healthy habits.

You can quell excessive social media use in a number of ways. One way is to undergo a social media detox or cleanse. This requires deleting social media apps, muting notifications for a designated number of days, or ​​limiting time spent checking social media feeds.

Forming good habits and engaging in new activities can also be a great way to break a social media addiction. You can fill up your schedule with new hobbies and activities in place of social media use. This can help quell the urge to check social media while helping you incorporate new habits into your routine.

Sometimes social media addiction can be difficult to break without the help of a professional. Seeing a professional can help provide you with the emotional support you need and empower you with tools to address the addiction. Many therapists and psychologists are happy to treat social media addiction as a serious problem.

Final Thoughts: Social Media Addiction Statistics

Social media addiction is a problem that will continue as long as social media platforms play a role in our society. You can reduce your chances of getting addicted to social media by understanding how it impacts your mental health, limiting your usage and seeking professional help if necessary. 

We hope our statistics have provided you with insights into social media addiction. Have you ever been addicted to social media? Do you know anyone who is addicted to social media? What steps have you taken to find help for yourself or them? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading. 

  • About 2.7% of all humans are addicted to social media.

  • There’s no universally set number of hours that indicate social media addiction. However, people worldwide spend an average of two hours a day on social media, which can be considered addictive if it interferes with other activities.

  • A study by Longstreet and Brooks estimates that 210 million people are addicted to social media worldwide.

  • While no study provides a direct answer to this question, a survey by Hill Holiday shows that 51% of Gen Z report that they use social media constantly.


  1. Social Media Use in 2021 
  2. Social Media by Generation 
  3. Teens and Social Media: Key Findings From Pew Research Center Survey
  4. Associations Between Time Spent Using Social Media and Internalization Among Youths 
  5. Connection, Creativity, and Drama: Teen Life on Social Media in 2022
  6. Life satisfaction: A key to managing internet & social media addiction
  7. ThinkNow Media Report
  8. Gen Z Mental Health: The Impact of Tech and Social Media 
  9. Digital 2023: Global Overview Report 
  10. The Ultimate Social Media Trends Report 
  11. Why Social Media Use Has Changed The World
  12. Here’s How Social Media Usage is Changing in the US
  13. Social Networking Sites and Addiction: 10 Lessons Learned 
  14. Here’s How Social Media Usage is Changing in the US 
  15. Teens, Social Media and Technology 
  16. 70+ Social Media Demographics for Marketers in 2023
  17. Top 10 Social Media Sites and Platforms 
  18. Top Worldwide Social Media Trends and Predictions for 2023 
  19. Ethics of the Attention Economy: The Problem of Social Media Addiction
  20. What is Addiction
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