It’s probably no big surprise to see your teenager’s eyes glued to his or her mobile phone these days, but did you know your kid is probably one of the most prolific users of social media technology?
According to a survey released last week by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Black teens are the biggest and most frequent users of mobile-friendly social media apps Snapchat and Instagram.
The poll, which explored social media use amongst teens and its relationship to race and class, showed that nearly 9 in 10 black teenagers use Snapchat, compared with just over 7 in 10 whites. And 4 in 10 black teens report using Snapchat almost constantly, compared with about 2 in 10 white teens. The poll also found that a third of Black teens say they use Instagram almost constantly, compared with about 1 in 5 white teens who responded similarly, the Associated Press reported.
Much like with #BlackTwitter, researchers noticed that Black teens are like to be first adopters of new social platforms. “They’re first-movers, in many ways,” said Amanda Lenhart, the lead researcher on the poll. “It speaks to the level of embeddedness of the technology in Black youth’s lives and their willingness to move into new platforms more quickly than their counterparts.”
More than 9 in 10 black teens — 95 percent — have access to a smartphone, compared with 89 percent of whites and 86 percent of Hispanics. While this may make them savvier on social media and messenger apps, the technology could be a handicap in education or employment, especially for teens who don’t have access to other types of devices. Lower-income teens are less likely to have tablets or traditional desktop computers, which cost more and can make tasks like writing a paper, doing homework or filling out a job application easier.
The study also examined teen habits among other social media apps. While texting is still the way 9 in 10 teens send short messages, according to the poll, 4 in 10 also use a messaging app, such as Kik, WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook Messenger. Thirty-four percent of Black teens surveyed responded that they use three or more messaging apps, compared with 20 percent of white teens.