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25 Startling Social Media Addiction Statistics (2022)

by Josh Howarth
August 26, 2022

Social media addiction affects millions of people around the world. But since it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, defining and diagnosing the problem can be challenging.

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Searches for “social media addiction” are on the rise.

According to psychologists, social media users could be addicted if they meet these three criteria:

  • They’re overly concerned or preoccupied with social media.
  • They have an overwhelming desire to use social media.
  • Their social media use negatively affects other areas of their lives.

Now that you know the signs of social media addiction, what do the numbers say? Keep reading to find out.

Top Social Media Addiction Stats

Before you read this entire list, here’s a preview of the most eye-opening social media addiction statistics for 2022:

  • Experts believe that 16-33 million Americans could be addicted to social media.
  • 30% of Americans consider themselves addicted to social media.
  • Social media addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
  • 41% of the world’s 4-to-18-year-olds use TikTok.
  • Each year, Americans spend over 11 days on TikTok.
  • Adults spend over a third of their internet time using social media apps.

Social Media Addiction Statistics

Billions of people all around the world use social media every day. While we’ll probably never know exactly how many are addicted, we can use these stats to make some educated guesses.

30% of American adults consider themselves addicted to social media (ThinkNow)

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Nearly a third of Americans over the age of 18 think they have a social media addiction. But that number changes dramatically when looking at different demographics.

Here’s how social media addiction in the US looks when broken down by age:

  • 40% of 18-22-year-olds
  • 37% of 23-38-year-olds
  • 26% of 39-54-year-olds
  • 21% of 55-64-year-olds

Social media addiction by gender:

  • 26% of American men
  • 34% of American women

And by ethnicity:

  • 32% of White Americans
  • 29% of Hispanic Americans
  • 27% of Asian Americans
  • 25% of African Americans

Considering that almost half of Americans admit they’re addicted to their smartphones, these numbers could even be on the low end.

There are 4.7 billion social media users worldwide (We Are Social, Hootsuite)

59% of the world’s population uses social media. When you look at developed countries, that percentage goes way up. Here’s a breakdown of usage rates in more developed areas of the world:

  • 71% of Eastern Asians use social media.
  • 78% of North Americans use social media.
  • 83% of Western Europeans use social media.
  • 84% of Northern Europeans use social media.

Adults spend 36% of their online time using social media (We Are Social / Hootsuite)

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Women aged 25-34 spend the highest share of their online time on social media at 40%. Men aged 55-64 spend the lowest share of their internet time using social media at just 28%.

5-10% of Americans could be addicted to social media (Addiction Center)

There are no concrete numbers for how many people suffer from social media addiction.

The Addiction Center estimates put 5-10% of Americans in the “social media addict” category. This means there could be anywhere from 16 to 33 million people addicted to social media in the US alone.

Filling spare time is the #2 reason people use social media (We Are Social / Hootsuite)

When asked about their primary reasons for using social media, 36% of internet users aged 16-24 said “filling spare time.” Next to staying connected with friends and family, filling spare time was the top reason for spending time on social media platforms like Facebook.

Gen Z and Social Media Addiction

Gen Z is the first generation to have social media access from a young age. Among today’s adults, they could be the most susceptible to social media addiction.

9 out of 10 Gen Z adults use social media (Hill Holiday)

91% of Gen Z’ers say they use at least one social media platform.

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On top of that, 51% say they use social media almost constantly. And half say that their experience on social media platforms blends with their experiences in the real world.

Wasting time is the most common reason for Gen Z to quit social media (Hill Holiday)

With more than half of Gen Z looking to reduce their social media time, Hill Holiday dug into the reasons why. 41% said they waste too much time on social media. 35% said there was too much negativity. 17% said social media made them feel bad about themselves.

72% of Gen Z adults think people in their age group spend too much time on social media (Hill Holiday)

Gen Z believes their generation devotes too much time to social media. That could explain why 58% of Gen Z’ers are trying to reduce their social media consumption.

Users who spend 3 hours or more per day on social media are most likely to feel negative about their social well-being (Lululemon)

Lululemon’s Global Wellbeing survey shed some light on how the amount of time spent on social media affects social well-being.

The survey asked users if social media made them feel like they were “missing out” or made them “compare themselves to others”.

33% of users who spend over 3 hours on social media said yes. Only 20% of users who spend an hour or less on social media per day said yes.

Social Media Platform Statistics

People use different social platforms for different purposes. Some are even designed to be more addictive than others. Here are the numbers behind the top social media platforms today.

The average internet user has 8.5 social media accounts (Digital Information World)

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Between 2013 and 2018, the number of social media accounts owned by the average user nearly doubled—from 4.3 to 8.5. Today, users assign different purposes to each platform: Facebook for messaging, Instagram for following brands, and TikTok for entertainment. And with new social media networks popping up all the time, that number is sure to go up.

81% of Americans use YouTube (Pew Research)

Despite the rise of platforms like TikTok, YouTube is still the #1 social platform in the US. Over half of internet users visit the platform at least once per day, and 36% use it several times per day.

49% of adults use Facebook more than once per day (Pew Research)

Facebook is the most popular platform for multiple daily visits among American adults. By comparison, 45% of adults check Snapchat more than once per day and 38% scroll their Instagram feeds multiple times daily.

WhatsApp has over 2 billion global users (We Are Social / Hootsuite)

In terms of the total number of global users, WhatsApp ranks third overall across social media platforms. But in terms of users’ favorite platform, the messaging app sits at the top of the list. 16.4% of global adults consider WhatsApp their favorite social media platform.

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Search interest growth for “WhatsApp” over the past 5 years.

American TikTok users spend an average of 45.8 minutes per day on the app (eMarketer)

TikTok has become the most-consumed social media platform among American adults. The average American dedicates 1,393 minutes per month—278 hours per year—to TikTok.

That’s over 11 full days per year.

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TikTok’s explosive growth over the past 5 years.

Effects of Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction might not have the life-or-death implications of a drug or alcohol addiction, but its negative effects are very real. People who are addicted to social media can underperform at school or work, increase their exposure to cyberbullying, and see their mental health deteriorate.

Facebook adversely affects 1/8th of its user base (Business Insider)

In one of Facebook’s surveys, 12.5% of users said the social media platform negatively affects their work, sleep, or parenting.

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Taking Facebook’s 2.9 billion users into account means these issues could impact over 362 million users.

Social media addiction can create real mental health risks (Addiction Center)

Too much social media consumption can lead to a host of mental health issues, from social isolation and anxiety to depression and eating disorders.

Two-thirds of US adults think social media is related to social isolation and loneliness (Psychiatry.org)

67% of US adults believe that social media consumption is directly related to feelings of social isolation and loneliness. 38% believe that social media impacts mental health in a negative way. And perhaps most shockingly, 74% believe that social media usage has an impact on suicide rates.

39% of Americans think social media is bad for society (YouGov)

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According to YouGov, almost twice as many American adults think social media is bad for society (39%) as the opposite (22%). 27% think social media is neither a good nor bad thing, while 12% are undecided.

4 out of 10 Gen Z adults attribute negative feelings to social media (Hill Holiday)

41% of Gen Z adults say social media consumption makes them feel sad, anxious, or depressed. Additionally, 29% say social media has affected their self-esteem or made them feel insecure, and 22% say social media makes them feel like they’re missing out. Despite that, 77% believe that social media’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks.

Social Media Addiction Among Teens and Children

Social media addiction is a top concern for parents. Maintaining mental health and academic performance are the top reasons parents monitor their kids’ social media use.

88% of US adults are concerned about how much time kids and teens spend on social media (Psychiatry.org)

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The amount of time kids spend on social media is what most adults worry about. For some parents, the best way to address their concerns is by blocking social media apps. TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat are the most blocked apps globally according to Qustodio.

American teens average 7 hours and 22 minutes of screen time per day (Common Sense Media)

The amount of time kids spend in front of screens continues to climb year after year. It isn’t just teenagers consuming hours and hours of content. Kids 8-12 years old get an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes of screen time per day. And 53% of kids own their own smartphone by the time they’re 11 years old.

Children spend an average of 50 minutes per day checking their social media feeds (Qustodio)

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How long does the average kid spend on social media? Qustodio’s study breaks down the average time kids dedicate to each social media platform. Here’s the global average for the top six platforms:

  • 91 minutes per day on TikTok.
  • 71 minutes per day on Snapchat.
  • 41 minutes per day on Instagram.
  • 15 minutes per day on Reddit.
  • 13 minutes per day on Pinterest.
  • 10 minutes per day on Facebook.

41% of children aged 4-18 worldwide use TikTok (Qustodio)

TikTok is the top social media app used by kids worldwide with a 41% usage rate. Second, on that list is Facebook at 37% followed by Snapchat at 33%.

More than half of children's social media screen time takes place during school hours (Qustodio)

Social media’s addictiveness isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Constant alerts and notifications keep users’ attention all throughout the day. For children, this leads to frequent distractions during school hours, where more than 50% of their screen time takes place.

62% of teens use social media every day (Common Sense Media)

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Well over half of the kids aged 13-18 use social media every single day. Despite that, only 34% say they “enjoy social media a lot.”

Teenagers spend an average of 1 hour and 27 minutes per day on social media (Common Sense Media)

The average teenager spends over 500 hours per year consuming social media. That’s a 24% increase over average social media time in 2019.

Wrap Up

Social media has contributed a lot of positives to society. It helps people stay connected to family and friends. It gives folks an outlet for entertainment and exposure to new perspectives. But social media has its drawbacks, too.

For millions of people—especially kids and young adults—social media is a rabbit hole that consumes a huge chunk of their waking life. Even when the content they consume takes its toll on their mental health, they come back to these platforms because that’s the way they’re designed.

On the bright side, people are starting to recognize their social media habits are getting out of hand. As people take steps to curb their social screen time, we might see these numbers come back to Earth.