13 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Since its inception in 1997, social media has evolved into an integral part of our daily lives. People around the world connect to their favorite social networking sites daily and spend several hours on them. Social platforms have become increasingly popular. It has become a significant addiction for millions worldwide.

The impacts of social media addiction have just recently begun to be properly documented. These statistics on social media addiction will truly blow your head. 

Can you think of a family member or friend who is not on social media? Not likely. 

Social media usage is nearly universal although the mechanism and reasons for how and why are people addicted to social media might differ around the world. There are social networking platforms tailored for people of many ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Keep reading as we take a deeper look at analyzing the worldwide and US social media addiction statistics.

More than 330 million individuals are addicted to social media. 

In 2021, the most recent figures on social media addiction indicate that over 330 million people will suffer from social media and internet addiction. This is an increase from 2019’s 210 million social media addicts.

Seven percent of social media users are addicted. In 2023, there will be more than 5 billion users of social media which is greater than fifty-five percent of the world’s population. That said, the number of social media addicts is certainly going to rise.

People spend 2 hours and 32 minutes on social media networks per day, on average.

The average daily time spent on social media is 2 hours and 32 minutes, with the majority of time spent on the 5 most popular platforms: Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

Although Facebook has over 2.23 billion members and TikTok has been recognized as the most addicting social media network, social media users spend an average of forty-four minutes per day on YouTube.

  • 56.8 percent of the global population are active social media users.
  • WeAreSocial claimed that the number of internet users increased by more than 222 million between October 2020 and October 2021, resulting in a total of 4.88 billion. That constitutes 61.8 percent of the population of world.
  • This corresponds to around 4.48 billion social media users worldwide. Both of these statistics cover eligible audiences older than 13 years.
  • Most individuals now own a mobile phone. There are approximately 4.44 billion mobile (Wi-Fi and/or cellular) internet users, which accounts for 90.9 percent of all internet users. And the majority of them will come with social media functions. 90.6 percent of all internet users own smartphones. Only 4.8 percent of the population has a traditional (button) phone.
  • It is believed that more than half of 11- and 12-year-olds have personal social media profiles, even though most social media networks have an age minimum of 13 or older.
  • Considering the dramatic rise in the use of social media since 2017, there are likely more individuals with a digital addiction nowadays. According to credible authorities, between 5 and 10 percent of Americans currently fit the criteria for social media addiction. Considering the current U.S. population of 333 million, this suggests that between 16 and 33 million Americans may be addicted to social media.
  • Fifty percent of drivers caught using their phones while driving are checking social media.
  • Texting while driving appears to be a serious problem in society, particularly among younger drivers, according to a substantial number of research reports.
  • There are currently estimates that up to fifty percent of those caught using their phones while driving in 2020 were engaged in activities other than texting, such as taking photos, posting social media posts, and even live streaming.
  • Every night, 73 percent of people sleep with or next to their phone.
  • In a recent study, 73 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer to sleep with their phones by their side or under their pillows. Unfortunately, these individuals are unaware that this might lead to sleep disruptions, which have been related to a variety of mental and physical health problems.
  • In addition, 63 percent of respondents claimed that checking their phone was the first thing they do after waking up.
  • Seventy-eight percent of Americans use social media daily.
  • Eighty-six percent of Americans have an active social media account, and 78 percent of these people on social media check at least one of their accounts daily, with over sixty percent of them checking social media many times per day.
  • As of October 2021, Facebook (2.89 billion members), TikTok (1 billion), YouTube (2.291 billion), Instagram (1.393 billion), WhatsApp (2 billion), Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion), and WeChat (1.251 billion) were the most popular social applications globally. Snapchat is ranked 12th with 538 million members, followed by Pinterest with 454 active subscribers and Twitter with 436 million active users.

Before you read this complete list, here are the most eye-opening figures about social media addiction for 2022:

  • There are 4.7 billion users of social media worldwide.
  • According to a survey, 30 percent of Americans consider themselves social media addicts.
  • TikTok is used by 41 percent of the world’s 4-to-18-year-olds.
  • Americans spend almost 11 days per year on TikTok.
  • Adults spend over a third of their time online on social networking applications.
  • This represents nearly 5 years of a person’s entire life span.
  • Addiction to social media can result in anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
  • The second most common reason why individuals use social media is to kill time.

Every day, billions of individuals around the world utilize social media. While we will likely never know the precise number of addicts, we can use these statistics to make reasonable estimations.

Nearly one-third of adults in the United States believe they are addicted to social media. However, this number varies substantially based on demographic factors.

The age distribution of social media addiction in the United States is as follows:

  • 40 percent of 18- to 22-year-olds
  • 37 percent of those aged 23-38
  • 26 percent of those aged 39-54
  • 21 percent of those aged 55-64 

Addiction to social media by gender:

  • 26 percent of U.S. men
  • 34 percent of U. S. women

And according to ethnicity:

  • 32 percent of Caucasian Americans
  • 29 percent of Hispanics in the U.S.
  • 27 percent of Asian Americans
  • A quarter of African-Americans

Given that over half of Americans admit to being addicted to their smartphones, these estimates may be modest.

Fifty-nine percent of the global population is active on social media. When compared to industrialized nations, this percentage is significantly higher. Here is a breakdown of social media usage statistics by country or region:

  • Seventy-one percent of Eastern Asians utilize social media platforms.
  • Seventy-eight percent of North Americans utilize social networking sites.
  • Eighty-three percent of Western Europeans use social media.
  • Northern Europeans utilize social media at a rate of 84%.
  • Thirty-six percent of adults internet time is spent on social media.
  • Women between the ages of 25 and 34 devote 40 percent of their online time to social media.
  • Men between the ages of 55 and 64 devote only 28 percent of their Internet time to social media.
  • Five to ten percent of Americans may be social media addicts

There are no quantifiable estimates of how many individuals suffer from social media addiction while using the potentially most addictive social media platforms available in the mainstream.

When questioned about their top motivations for using social media, 36 percent of internet users between the ages of 16 and 24 responded “passing time”, second to maintaining relationships with family and friends, filling free time was the most common reason for using social media sites such as Facebook. 

The typical Internet user has 8.4 social media profiles. Between 2013 and 2018, the average user’s number of social accounts roughly doubled, from 4.3 to 8.5. Currently, users assign distinct functions to each platform: Facebook for communicating, Instagram for brand-following, and TikTok for entertainment. And as more social media networks continue to emerge, this number will undoubtedly increase. So which social media platform is the most popular or has the potential to be most addictive?

Eighty-one percent of U.S. citizens use YouTube. Despite the development of platforms such as TikTok, YouTube remains the most popular social platform in the United States. Over fifty percent of internet users visit the site multiple times every day.

Forty-nine percent of Americans use Facebook daily or more. Facebook is the most widely used platform among American adults for numerous daily visits. 45 percent of adults check Snapchat numerous times each day, while 38 percent scroll through their Instagram accounts multiple times per day.

WhatsApp has almost 2 billion users worldwide. In terms of the number of users worldwide across all major social media platforms, WhatsApp ranks third. The messaging application, however, is the most popular platform among users. 16.4 percent of adults worldwide regard WhatsApp to be their preferred social networking platform.

The average American TikTok user spends 45.8 minutes per day on the app. The most popular social media network among American adults is TikTok. The average American spent 1,393 minutes every month on TikTok or 278 hours per year.

Although social media addiction may not have the same life-or-death consequences as alcohol or drug addiction, its negative impacts are quite real. Individuals who are addicted to social media may perform poorly at school or work, become more vulnerable to cyberbullying, and experience deteriorating mental health.

Facebook negatively impacts one-eighth of its user base.

In one Facebook study, 12.5 percent of respondents indicated that the social networking platform negatively impacts their sleep, work, or parenting.

Taking into consideration Facebook’s 2.9 billion users, these flaws might affect around 362 million individuals.

Social media addiction can pose serious hazards to mental health.

Excessive use of social media can lead to a variety of mental health difficulties, including social isolation, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Two-thirds of American people associate social media with loneliness and social isolation.

Sixty-seven percent of American adults say that social media use directly contributes to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Thirty-eight percent think that social media negatively affects mental health. And maybe most surprisingly, 74 percent think social media usage affects suicide rates.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans feel that social media is detrimental to society.

According to YouGov, nearly twice as many American adults believe social media is detrimental to society (39 percent vs. 22 percent). Twenty-seven percent believe social media is neither positive nor negative, while 12 percent are unsure.

Four in ten adults of Generation Z attribute negative emotions to social media.

Forty-one percent of adults of Generation Z say social media use makes them feel anxious, sad, or depressed. In addition, 29 percent of respondents say social media has impacted their self-esteem or left them feeling insecure, while 22 percent say they experience a feeling like they are missing out. Despite this, 77 percent believe the benefits of social media vastly exceed its drawbacks.

The survey by Qustodio breaks down the average time children spend on each social media platform. Here is the global mean for the six most popular platforms:

  • 91 minutes every day on TikTok.
  • 71 minutes daily are spent on Snapchat.
  • 41 minutes daily are spent on Instagram.
  • 15 minutes every day are spent on Reddit.
  • 13 minutes a day are spent on Pinterest.
  • 10 minutes daily on Facebook.

TikTok is used by 41 percent of youngsters ages 4 to 18 worldwide.

With a global usage rate of 41 percent, TikTok is the most popular social media app among youths. Facebook ranks second with 37 percent, followed by Snapchat with 33 percent.

Over half of children’s time spent on social media occurs during school hours.

The addicting nature of social media is not a bug, but a feature. Constant alerts and updates maintain users’ focus throughout the entire day. This results in frequent diversions for children during school hours, where more than fifty percent of their screen usage occurs.

Sixty-two percent of adolescents use social media daily.

Moreover, half of the adolescents aged 13 to 18 use social media daily. Despite this, only 34 percent indicate that they “like social media very much.”

The average adolescent devotes over 500 hours per year to social media. That’s a 24 percent rise above 2019’s average social media usage.

Addiction to social media is a major concern for parents. The primary reasons why parents monitor their children’s social media users are mental health and academic performance.

88 percent of American adults are concerned with the number of time children and adolescents spend on social media.

Most people are concerned about the number of time kids spend on social media. For some parents, disabling social media apps is the most effective means of addressing their worries. According to Qustodio, the three most restricted apps globally are TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Teens in the United States spend 7 hours and 22 minutes every day in front of a screen.

The number of hours children spend in front of devices increases per year. Not just adolescents consume countless hours of content. Children ages 8 to 12 spend an average of four hours and forty-four minutes per day in front of a screen. By the time they are 11 years old, 53 percent of children have a smartphone.

On average, children spend fifty minutes every day browsing their feeds on social media.



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