Brief - The Hustle

Teenagers are obsessed with YouTube — and so is everyone else

Written by Sara Friedman | Jan 3, 2024 10:20:06 AM

From cassette players to iPods to smartphones, teenagers have been tuning out the world by pressing play for decades.

But social media has brought the addiction to a whole new level, and YouTube in particular is taking off with teens, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

Pew’s 2023 survey of 1.4k+ 13- to 17-year-olds found that:

  • 93% of teens use YouTube.
  • 71% say they visit the platform daily.
  • 16% report being on the site “almost constantly.”

It’s not just YouTube, of course — teens are spreading their attention spans across other apps, though the rest lagged behind by 30% or more.

TikTok had 63% of teens using the app, followed by Snapchat at 60% and Instagram at 59%.

Altogether, a third of teens reported using at least one of five sites (YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook) almost constantly, a similar finding to last year’s survey.

The teens aren’t alone…

… in their love for YouTube. The platform has 2.7B+ monthly active users.

And it’s just getting started on its 2024 takeover:

  • YouTube is ending legacy pricing, charging all premium users $13.99 per month as of January.
  • Google Podcasts will shutter in 2024, and YouTube Music will become the one-stop shop for podcasts.
  • YouTube is already blazing the AI trail with music tools that can clone the voices of famous singers or generate music from a user’s hum.

As YouTube’s star rises, so too do concerns over the harmful effects of social media. The American Psychological Association recommended teens undergo training before logging on.

And while the risks are very real, so are the possible rewards of YouTube stardom, making “influencer” the new dream job for many young people.