• Kid's Digital Life

Popular Social Media Apps and How Teens & Tweens Are Using Them

By Myros Allegre | 08/03/2017

Social Media Apps Tweens & Teens Are Using

The addiction to social media and mobile apps is no secret amongst today’s teens and tweens. According to Pew Research Center, the availability of smartphones has resulted in 92% of teens (ages 13-17) saying they go online every day, and 24% of teens stating that they are online “almost constantly.” With this many teens online at such a high level of frequency, what exactly are they doing?

Social media is a major draw among this demographic, and there are a number of social media apps that rise above the rest in popularity. Research reports that Facebook is still the most popular and frequently used social media appamong teens, with 71% of them claiming to use it. Instagram comes in next at 52%, followed by Snapchat (41%) and Twitter (33%).

According to Common Sense Media, tweens (ages 8-12) and teens (ages 13-18) use their media differently. Teens are more likely to multi-task, using their device or computer to listen to music (76%), text (60%), watch TV (51%), or use social media (50%) while they are doing their homework.

The Social Fabric of Tween/Teen Life

With all of this time online, how do tweens and teens use social media? In today’s highly technological world, social media acts as a place tweens and teens can hang out and socialize outside of home and school. Despite the high number of teens that still use Facebook, this is slowly changing as they begin to favor Instagram and Snapchat.

When on these apps, teens and tweens are chatting, playing games, and snapping and sharing photos and other images they find online. Contrary to parents’ concerns, in most cases, tweens and teens prefer to interact with kids they already know. However, with the vast amount of social media apps available, it becomes increasingly easier for your child to interact with strangers and friends, alike.


The key is to know which apps your child is using. Once you have that information, you can familiarize yourself with these platforms and how they are used. Sign up for an account, discover firsthand how these platforms are being used by kids.

When you have this information, you can open a line of communication with your child and educate them on best practices when using the app. You can also discuss the possibility of not using certain apps if you feel they aren’t appropriate.

This will help you maintain awareness of what your child is doing online and will allow you to offer your guidance on what they should and should not be posting. Sometimes kids share things with a wider group than intended; in these situations, parents can step in and use that incident as an opportunity to discuss their child’s awareness of their social sphere.

Ultimately, social media is here to stay, and has become a significant part of the social development of tweens and teens. Understanding that social media apps now are an integral part of adolescent life is a crucial realization for parents to have. They can then play a role in their child’s social media presence by teaching them appropriate online behavior, and monitor their app time-usage.