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46+ Shocking Social Media Addiction Statistics (2022)

Last updated: 2 weeks ago
9 min read

Social media addiction has become a big worldwide problem, with more than 210 million addicts (and many more that remain unknown).

That’s why we dived deep into this topic to provide you with mindblowing facts about:

  • What is the most addictive social media platform
  • Which gender and age group is most likely to be addicted to social media, and how much time they spent online
  • What are the most common symptoms and effects of social media addiction

Did you know 34% of Americans went through their partner’s phones without their knowledge?

Learn more facts like this down below.

People holding phones

How many people are addicted to social media

Time spent on social media, by age

How many teens are addicted to social media

What are the effects of social media addiction

Social media use and relationship jealousy

Social Media Addiction Statistics

  • More than 210 million people suffer from social media addiction, or even more than 350 million, based on our calculations.
  • Women aged 16 to 24 spend the most time on social media, with 3 hours and 8 minutes per day, compared to 2 hours and 38 minutes on the male side.
  • More than 12% of tweens and 34% of teens in the US could be addicted to social media.
  • Almost 40% of adult social media users report at least a minimal level of depression.
  • 23% of Americans feel jealous when looking at how their partner interacts with others on social media, with the youngest ones and couples that only live together being the likeliest to get jealous.

How many people are addicted to social media?

More than 210 million people suffer from social media addiction globally.

That number was set in 2017, meaning it’s now much higher.

(ScienceDirect)

Let’s say the number of social media addictions increased about the same as that of social media users; we can estimate there are now around 352.4 million social media addicts.

It's estimated over 350 million people are addicted to social media worldwide

(Datareportal 2)

Around 5 to 10% of Americans might be suffering from social media addiction, according to psychologists.

(Addiction Center)

How many people have social media, and what % of them are addicted?

There were 4.7 billion active social media users worldwide in July 2022.

More than 4.7 billion people worldwide use social media

That represents 93.6% of all internet users and 59% of the global population.

(Datareportal 2)

Around 7.5% of social media users were addicted in 2017.

The latest available data on social media addiction dated to 2017, when there were 2.8 billion social media users.

Considering our estimation from above, around 7.49% of social media users in 2022 are addicts.

(Datareportal)

An average person uses 7.4 different social media platforms.

Most social media platforms are used by Indians (9.1 platforms), whereas Japanese users use the least (3.7 platforms).

(Datareportal)

What is the most addictive social media?

TikTok is the most addictive social media platform, with an average global screen time of 23.6 hours per month.

However, to be considered addicted, a person has to spend 21.5 hours per week on social media.

(Datareportal 2, NIH)

Based on the NIH 2021 study, 50.4% of participants preferred using Instagram.

Only 23.9% chose Facebook as their preferred social media platform.

(NIH)

Facebook was the most used social media site as of July 2022, with 2.93 billion global users.

YouTube was the second biggest social media platform, with 2.47 billion users.

Here’s a table of global social media apps and users per platform:

Social media
platform
Number of
global users
Facebook2.93 billion
YouTube2.47 billion
WhatsApp2 billion
Instagram1.44 billion
WeChat1.29 billion
TikTok1.02 billion
Messenger1 billion
Telegram0.7 billion
Snapchat0.62 billion
Douyin0.61 billion
Kuaishou0.6 billion
Sina Weibo0.58 billion
QQ0.56 billion
Twitter0.48 billion
Pinterest0.43 billion
Reddit0.43 billion
Quora0.3 billion
(Datareportal 2)

Time spent on social media by age

At 3 hours and 8 minutes per day, females aged 16-24 spend the most time on social media.

In every age group, females spend slightly more time on social media, with the narrowest gap in the 35-44 age group.

Daily time spent on social media

Here’s the table of time spent on social media based on age group and gender:

Age groupWomenMen
16-243h 8min2h 38min
25-342h 53min2h 34min
35-442h 29min2h 19min
45-542h 10min1h 59min
55-641h 44min1h 31min
(Datareportal 2)

On the other hand, females from the 25-34 age group spend the most (40%) of their total online time on social media.

Share of social media screentime compared to total online time:

Age groupWomenMen
16-2439.7%36%
25-3440%36.5%
35-4438%34.9%
45-5435.4%32.8%
55-6430.1%27.9%
(Datareportal 2)

Female users spend more time than males on social media across all age groups.

On average, people spend 2.5 hours per day using social media.

Or 2 hours and 29 minutes, to be exact. That’s a year-on-year increase of 3.5% or extra 5 minutes of social media use compared to the previous year.

(Datareportal 2)

Social media addiction demographics

With 45%, women report a higher percentage of social media addiction.

Self-reported social media addiction by gender

Here’s a table of self-reported social media addiction by gender:

GenderSomewhat addicted
to social media
Certainly addicted
to social media
Women34%11%
Men26%7%
In total30%9%
(Statista)

Hispanics and Whites are the most certain they are addicted to social media.

Self-reported social media addiction by ethnicity

A table of self-reported social media addiction by ethnicity:

EthnicitySomewhat addicted
to social media
Certainly addicted
to social media
White32%9%
Hispanic29%11%
African
American
25%8%
Asian27%7%
In total30%9%
(Statista 2)

A study from 2019 suggests that more males are addicted to social media than females.

While women self-report a higher addiction to social media than men, other studies show a different picture.

More accurately, the Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences study found that 49.6% of males were addicted to social media compared to 32% of females.

Interestingly, social media usage influenced females’ academic performance more than males.

GenderPercentage of
addicted to
social media
Women32%
Men49.6%
(ScienceDirect 2)

People with jobs spend less time on social media than students and job seekers.

Social media screen time also depends on job conditions.

(NIH)

How many students are addicted to social media?

According to a Turkey study, 10.3% of students believe they are addicted to social media.

However, in the study, 35.9% of students also admitted they checked a social media notification as soon as it came, meaning they could also be at risk of having social media disorder.

The study involved 1,274 students.

(Springer Link)

30.1% of medical students worldwide were addicted to social media, according to a 2018 study.

Most medical students in the Iranian study (70.6%) had moderate social media addiction.

Also, male students showed significantly higher levels of addiction than females. Though Iranian results might be different due to cultural differences.

Other countries conducted similar studies among medical students and got different results:

CountryPercentage of medical students
addicted to social media
Iran70.6%
India36.9%
Singapore29.5%
Worldwide30.1%
(BMC)

52% of American internet users aged 23-38 reported feeling addicted to social media, which is the most out of all age groups.

The survey was conducted in April 2019 by ThinkNow.

Here’s a breakdown of how many Americans feel addicted to social media by age:

Age groupFeel addictedDefinitely addicted
18-2240%5%
23-3837%15%
39-5426%9%
55-6421%1%
(Statista 3)

What percent of social media users are under 18 years old?

More than 90% of adolescents aged 13-18 have already used social media.

More than 90% of adolescents are using social media

75% have at least one social media account, while 51% use social media daily.

The article is from 2018.

How many have at least one
social media account
How many use social
media every day
75%51%
(AACAP)

36% of American teens say they spend too much time on social media, and 54% of them think it would be hard to stop using social media.

What American teens think about their social media use:

Time spent on
social media
according to teens
Percentage who
feel that way
Too little8%
About right55%
Too much36%
(Pew Research)

On the other hand, 18% of teens think it would be very difficult to give up on social media.

Here’s how difficult it would be to stop using social media for American teens:

Difficulty in giving
up on social media
Percentage who
feel that way
Very easy20%
Somewhat easy26%
Somewhat hard35%
Very hard18%
(Pew Research)

Teenager social media addiction

How many teens are addicted to social media?

34% or over 14 million of US teens say they enjoy social media “a lot”.

Social media usage is increasing among younger kids too.

  • 38% of tweens used social media in 2021 compared to 31% in 2019, that’s an increase of 7%.
  • 18% of tweens use social media every day compared to 13% in 2019.
TeenagersPercentage of those who
enjoy social media “a lot”
Tweens12%
Teens34%
(CSM)

7.7% of participants aged 12-19 showed intense internet addiction.

4.1% were boys, and 3.6% were girls. Both displayed higher psychological distress.

N=9,173

(ScienceDirect 3)

How much time does an average teenager spend on social media?

An average teenager aged 13-18 spends 2 hours and 10 minutes daily on social media in 2021.

In 2019, the average social media screen time was 1 hour and 56 minutes, 14 minutes less.

In the 8-12 age group (tweens), the average social media screen time was 1 hour and 20 minutes in 2021 (3 minutes more) and 1 hour and 17 minutes in 2019.

Age groupSocial media
time in 2019
Social media
time in 2021
Change
8-121h 17min1h 20min+3min
13-181h 56min2h 10min+14min
(CSM)

What are teenager social media addiction symptoms?

According to Iowa State University and University of Amsterdam study, social media addiction in teenagers manifests in these 9 symptoms:

  • Using social media to feel better
  • Unsuccessfully trying to stop or reduce social media usage
  • Feeling sad, angry, irritated, or anxious when not on social media
  • Feeling guilty about not reacting to a post
  • Needing to spend more time to achieve the same satisfaction rush when using social media
  • Thinking or fantasizing about using social media for a significant amount of time
  • Denying or lying to others about how much time is spent on social media
  • Neglecting other social or recreational activities
  • Forgetting about schoolwork or home chores due to excessive social media use
  • Losing, or almost losing, an important opportunity or relationship

The symptoms are similar to internet gaming disorder.

(Sources: ISU, EU Commission, Destinations)

Other teenager social media dangers:

  • Around 25% of teens have received explicit images without asking for them.
  • Even more concerning, 7% of teens reported that someone sent their explicit images without their consent.
  • 20% of teenage drivers say they check social media notifications while driving.
  • 72% of teenagers believe social media companies are manipulating them to use more social media.

(Addiction Center, CommonSenseMedia survey)

The value of face-to-face communication among teenagers has dropped by 17% from 2012 to 2018.

Whereas everything from texting, video chatting, and social media has increased.

A favorite way for teens to communicate:

Way of communicatingPercentage
in 2018
Percentage
in 2012
In-person32%49%
35%33%
Social media16%7%
Video chatting10%2%
(CSM 2)

Signs & Effects of Social Media Addiction

What are the most common signs of social media addiction?

Social media addiction signs, according to AddictionCenter:

  • Excessive or compulsive use of social media
  • Expressing concern about what is happening on social media and having the urge to log in

Being a social media addict brings many of the same poor mental health issues as with other addictions:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Changes in behavior
  • Lower quality of life
  • Withdrawal symptoms

(Addiction Center)

People with low social-emotional well-being say social media makes them feel better, less lonely, and less depressed.

Teenagers with high social-emotional well-being (a person with an overall positive look on life) and low social-emotional well-being (a person that consistently feels sad and hopeless) did the survey in April 2018.

Here’s a table of how teenagers report feeling when using social media:

Feeling state when
using social media
Percentage
Feel better22%
Feel worse15%
Less lonely39%
More lonely13%
Less depressed29%
More depressed11%
(CSM 2)

Most teenagers say social media has more positive than negative effects, with 25% feeling less lonely.

Only 3% reported feeling lonelier when using social networking sites.

Emotional effects on teens when using social media

Here’s a breakdown of emotional effects on teens when using social media:

Feeling state when
using social media
Percentage
Feel worse about
themselves
4%
Feel better about
themselves
18%
Less lonely25%
More lonely3%
Less depressed16%
More depressed3%
Less anxious12%
More anxious8%
Less confident5%
More confident20%
Less popular3%
More popular21%
(CSM 2)

What are the effects of social media addiction?

The University of Belgrade study finds the most notable social media addiction effects are teen depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem.

Overuse of online social networking can lead to developing mental health issues such as:

  • Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor academic or work performance
  • Ignoring real-life relationships
  • Poor physical performance
  • Sleeping issues
  • Back pain, headaches

(Diamond, Addiction Center, Healthline)

Almost 40% of adult social media users express at least minimal levels of depression.

Depression levelPercentage
Minimal39.9%
Mild29.8%
Moderate21.5%
Severe8.8%
(NIH)

People that spend too much time on social media have a 2.2 times higher risk of eating disorders or negative body image.

(Addiction Center)

Most teenagers sometimes feel left out or excluded when using social media.

Teenagers with high social-emotional well-being (a person with an overall positive look on life) and low social-emotional well-being (a person that consistently feels sad and hopeless) did the survey in April 2018.

Percentage of teens with
high social-emotional
well-being
Percentage of teens with
low social-emotional
well-being
Feeling of being
left out when using
social media
29%70%
Deleted the post
because it got
too few likes
13%43%
Feeling bad if
nobody reacts
to a post
11%43%
Have been
cyberbullied
5%35%
(CSM 2)

Most common reasons for social media addiction?

People with these 6 personality characteristics are at higher risk of developing social media addiction.

  • Communication and socializing problems
  • Trying to escape loneliness
  • Resiliency issues
  • Lack of self-management skills
  • Lack of problem-solving skills
  • Difficulties dealing with life problems (inner stress)

(NIH 2)

Social Media & Relationships

How does social media addiction and heavy use impact relationships?

More than half of US people in romantic relationships report their partners are on their phones while trying to communicate.

People admit that …Percentage
Their partners are often
or sometimes distracted
by their phones
51%
They’re bothered by their
partner spending so much
time on a phone
40%
They went through their
partner’s phone without
their knowledge
34%
(Pew Research 2)

48% of American young adults aged 18-29 like to share or discuss their relationships online.

Age groupPercentage of those who
like to share or discuss
their relationships online
18-2948%
30-4934%
50-6414%
65+7%
Total average28%
(Pew Research 2)

81% of Americans claim they see other people post things about their love life.

Age groupPercentage of those who
see others post about their
relationships online
18-2991%
30-4989%
50-6475%
65+56%
Total average81%
(Pew Research 2)

Among these, 81%:

  • 9% feel worse about their relationship when seeing those posts
  • 9% feel better

Moreover, out of 87% of singles from the survey who see social media posts of other people’s relationships:

  • 33% feel bad about their dating life
  • 62% don’t feel any different
  • 4% feel better

(Pew Research 2)

Social media use and relationship jealousy

23% of surveyed Americans in a relationship claim they felt jealous when checking their partner’s social media.

Specifically, they checked how their partner interacted with others on social media sites. That also made them uncertain about their relationship.

GenderThe likeliest to get jealous
Women29%
Men17%
(Pew Research 2)

Jealousy based on social media interactions, based on age group:

Age groupPercentage of those getting jealous
based on social media interactions
18-2934%
30-4926%
50-6419%
65+4%
(Pew Research 2)

Jealousy based on social media interactions, based on relationship status:

Relationship statusPercentage of those getting jealous
based on social media interactions
Married17%
Living together38%
Committed36%
(Pew Research 2)

Around 53% of Americans are checking up social media of someone they date or used to date.

Most of them come from the 18-29 age group.

Here’s a table showing how many Americans check their partners social media:

Age groupPercentage of Americans
that check their partners
on social media
18-2970%
30-4961%
50-6441%
65+24%
Total average53%
(Pew Research 2)
  • About 28% of American social media users claim it’s important to keep up with their partner’s life on social media.
  • 33% see social media as a way to show their partner how much they care about them.

(Pew Research 2)

Conclusion

These were the most interesting social media addiction statistics we could find, with thousands of researches revealing how much it can impact our everyday lives.

How do you feel about your social media usage? Can you regulate it, or do you feel like you’re addicted to it?

Please let us know in the comments.

SourcesScienceDirect, ScienceDirect 2, ScienceDirect 3, Datareportal, Datareportal 2, Addiction Center, NIH, NIH 2, Statista, Statista 2, Statista 3, Springer Link, BMC, AACAP, Pew Research, Pew Research 2, CSM, CSM 2, ISU, EU Commission, Destinations, Diamond, Healthline

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