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Social Media Addiction Statistics

With the increasing acceptance and expectation of social media use, many individuals face the adverse effects of social media addiction in their daily lives. While millennials and Gen Z make up the largest group of online users, social media addiction can occur in anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender. By understanding how social media addiction affects different groups, we can identify those who are at a higher risk and offer treatment options to prevent emotional and physical harm.

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Statistics on Addiction to Social Media

As social media use becomes more accepted and expected, more people are beginning to experience the real-world negative impacts of social media addiction.

Millennials and Gen Z comprise the largest number of online users, but anyone can develop an addiction to social media.

By better understanding how social media addiction affects each age group, ethnicity, and gender, we can better identify who’s more at risk for social media addiction and provide treatment before lasting emotional and physical harm can occur.

How Common Is Social Media Addiction?

Rates of social media addiction are sadly growing each year. With 56.8% of the world’s population active on social media, it’s believed that rates of social media addiction will also rise over the coming years.

According to research from the University of Michigan, an estimated 210 million people worldwide suffer from addiction to social media and the internet.

Regarding US statistics, California State University reports an estimated 10% or 33.19 million Americans are addicted to social media compared to the average person.

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Social Media Addiction in Young People

The effect of social media addiction on young people has been a growing topic of concern. Many mental health professionals worry that children and teens are particularly at risk for social media addiction.

Such concern is due to the way social media platforms encourage endless scrolling, impulsive behaviors, and the need for instant gratification.

For children and teens, whose brains are still developing, social media risks rewiring young brains to depend on instant rewards and addictive behaviors.

Young social media users aged 18 to 22 account for a shocking 40% of all Americans addicted to social media.

According to research from Common Sense, teens average 7 hours and 22 minutes of screen time per day, and kids 8–12 years old get an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes of screen time per day.

Damaging Effects of Social Media Addiction on Young People

Data from Statista provides a deeper look into the negative effects of social media use reported by US teenagers.

Out of the 1,141 respondents aged 13 to 17, teens reported that:

  • 70% felt left out or excluded when using social media
  • 43% have deleted social media posts due to receiving too few likes
  • 43% felt bad about themselves if no one liked or commented on their posts
  • 35% reported experiencing cyberbullying

One of the most serious risks social media addiction poses for young people is increased thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

Research from San Diego State University revealed that 7 in 10 teens who use social media for over 5 hours are at higher risk of committing suicide.

Social Media Addiction by Social Media Platforms

While it’s hard to say which social media site is the most addictive, the data shows which platforms experience the most screen time.

YouTube and Facebook are by far the most used online platforms, with Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram following close behind.

The Pew Research Center reports what percentage of Americans use the top social media apps every single day:

  • 70% of US adults use Facebook daily
  • 59% of US adults use Snapchat daily
  • 59% of US adults use Instagram daily
  • 46% of US adults use Twitter daily
  • 54% of US adults use Youtube daily

Although exact rates of social media addiction per platform are difficult to find, the Pew Research Center offers a clear picture of what percentage of Americans use each service and notable demographics among users.

  • YouTube:
    • 81% of all Americans use YouTube80% being women and 82% being men.
    • YouTube’s largest user base is aged 18 to 49, with 93% of all users in this age group.
  • Facebook:
    • 69% of all Americans use Facebook, with 77% being women and 61% being men.
    • Facebook’s largest user base is aged 18 to 64, with 73% of all users in this age group.
  • Instagram:
    • 40% of all Americans use Facebook, with 44% being women and 36% being men.
    • Instagram’s largest user base is aged 18 to 29, with 71% of all users in this age group.
  • Pinterest:
    • 31% of all Americans use Pinterest, with 46% being women and 16% being men.
    • Pinterest’s largest user base is aged 18 to 64, with 35% of all users in this age group.
  • LinkedIn:
    • 28% of all Americans use LinkedIn, with 26% being women and 31% being men.
    • LinkedIn’s largest user base is aged 18 to 64, with 33% of all users in this age group.
  • Snapchat:
    • 25% of all Americans use Snapchat, with 28% being women and 22% being men.
    • Snapchat’s largest user base is aged 18 to 29, with 65% of all users in this age group.
  • Twitter:
    • 23% of all Americans use Twitter, with 22% being women and 25% being men.
    • Twitter’s largest user base is aged 18 to 29, with 42% of all users in this age group.
  • WhatsApp:
    • 23% of all Americans use WhatsApp, with 21% being women and 26% being men.
    • WhatsApp’s largest user base is aged 30 to 49, with 30% of all users in this age group.
  • TikTok:
    • 21% of all Americans use TikTok, with 24% being women and 17% being men.
    • TikTok’s largest user base is aged 18 to 29, with 48% of all users in this age group.
  • Reddit:
    • 18% of all Americans use Reddit, with 12% being women and 23% being men.
    • Reddit’s largest user base is aged 18 to 29, with 36% of all users in this age group.
  • Nextdoor:
    • 13% of Americans use Nextdoor, with 16% women and 10% men.
    • Nextdoor’s largest user base is aged 30 to 64, with 16% of all users in this age group.

Addiction to Social Media by Demographic

Research on social media addiction is still growing, as the widespread use of social media is still relatively new to society.

Because social media addiction is not formally recognized as a diagnosis in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, 5th edition), exact numbers are hard to come by.

However, social media as an industry is highly data-driven. Statistics of active social media users and demographics are easy to find, painting a surprising picture of how commonplace social networking sites have become.

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Social Media Addiction Statistics by Race

According to data from Statista, online users who report being addicted to social media vary by ethnicity.

As of 2019, the data shows addiction among the following ethnicities:

  • Among White users, 32% reported being addicted to social media
  • Among Hispanic users, 29% reported being addicted to social media
  • Among Asian users, 27% reported being addicted to social media
  • Among African American users, 25% reported being addicted to social media

The Pew Research Center reports that specific social media sites are more popular with certain ethnicities.

Here are the top four sites used by ethnicity:

  • White Americans:
    • 79% use YouTube
    • 67% use Facebook
    • 35% use Instagram
    • 29% use LinkedIn.
  • Black Americans:
    • 84% use YouTube
    • 74% use Facebook
    • 49% use Instagram
    • 35% use Pinterest
  • Hispanic Americans:
    • 85% use YouTube
    • 72% use Facebook
    • 52% use Instagram
    • 46% use WhatsApp

Social Media Addiction Statistics by Age

Teens and young adults are by far the largest age group affected by social media addiction.

Because many young people experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), they feel obligated to be on social media despite the mental health issues excessive use of social media can cause.

According to Statista, rates of self-reported social media addiction by age group include:

  • 18 to 22 years old: 40% of Americans self-reported being addicted to social media
  • 23 to 38 years old: 37% of Americans self-reported being addicted to social media
  • 38 to 54 years old: 26% of Americans self-reported being addicted to social media
  • 55 to 64 years old: 21% of Americans self-reported being addicted to social media

Social Media Addiction Statistics by Gender

When it comes to self-reporting social media addiction, it appears at first glance that women are more likely to have social media addiction than men.

Statista reports the following rates of social media addiction per gender:

  • 34% of women admit they are somewhat addicted to social media, with 11% admitting they are undoubtedly addicted to social media.
  • 26% of men admit they are somewhat addicted to social media, with 7% admitting they are undoubtedly addicted to social media.

Although women tend to self-report a higher addiction to social media than men, recent studies have found that men may actually be more likely to develop social media addiction than women.

According to these recent studies on social media addiction:

  • 6% of men were addicted to social media
  • 32% of women were addicted to social media

Social Media Addiction Treatment & Recovery Statistics

Unfortunately, there are no current statistics regarding recovery from social media addiction. However, we do know that behavioral therapy has proven to be the best treatment type for social media addiction.

The most common types of therapy used in the treatment of social media addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Group Therapy

Although each of these therapies uses different approaches, they all have the same goal. Each therapy works by helping patients learn to be more self-aware of their addictive behavior and develop strategies to avoid problematic or unhealthy social media use in the future.

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Finding Treatment for Social Media Addiction

Because social media addiction can make you feel alone or embarrassed, many addicts suffer from low self-esteem and poor mental health. Luckily, there are many treatment options available for social media addiction.

You can start by asking your doctor how much time you spend on social media accounts and see what treatment may be best for you.

Don’t have a doctor or not sure where to start? Try out SAMHSA’s treatment locator or call 1-877-726-4727 (HELP) and get resources on social media addiction treatment options in your area.

FAQ's About Statistics on Social Media Addiction

What is the most addictive social media app?

It’s hard to say what social media app is most addictive. However, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the most heavily used social media services among all demographics.

A recent service asked users which apps were most addictive. The results showed that users believed TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook were the most addictive.

What age group is most affected by social media addiction?

Teens and young adults are by far the most affected by social media addiction, with a shocking 40% of American internet users aged 18 to 22 years old reporting they have social media addiction.

Among the next group, aged 23 to 38, 37% admitted to having social media addiction.

Is social media addiction a real issue?

Yes. The negative impact of social media overuse and addiction has been shown to affect addicts physically and mentally, often resulting in poor job and academic performance.

Social media addiction can disrupt the way the brain manages dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved with feelings of pleasure. For younger internet users, this dopamine disruption can wreak havoc on their still-developing brains, leading to impulsive, addictive behaviors and poor mental health.

What percentage of the US population is addicted to social media?

According to California State University, an estimated 10%, or 33.19 million, Americans are addicted to social media. Around 30% of Americans consider themselves possibly addicted to social media.

How many hours of social media use is considered an addiction?

No set amount of time indicates whether someone is addicted to social media. However, experts agree that over three hours a day is considered “heavy use” and can indicate someone may have a problem with social media use.

According to Lululemon’s Global Wellbeing survey, users who spend three hours or more daily on social media are most likely to feel negative about their social well-being.

What is the difference between social media addiction and internet addiction?

Social media addiction is a condition specific to social media usage, whereas internet addiction is more general and may include online services other than social media, like news sites, streaming services, or video games.

What is the percentage of teens that are addicted to social media?

While there are no exact social media addiction stats for teens, screen time statistics show that many teens may be at serious risk for social media addiction. In fact, Common Sense Media reports that American teens average 7 hours and 22 minutes of screen time per day.

How long does it take to become addicted to social media?

Social media addiction can develop after a person’s first use or take years to develop. Whether an addiction to social media will form depends on many factors, such as age, gender, history of addiction within the family, and other co-occurring mental illnesses related to impulsive behavior.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

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Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

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