AP-NORC Poll: Black teens most active on social media apps
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Teenagers and their technology are inseparable, but a new poll shows black teens are the most likely to have access to smartphones — which could explain why they're the biggest and most frequent users of mobile-friendly social media apps Snapchat and Instagram.
A survey released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research explored teens' social media use and its relationship to race and class. The poll found 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.
A third of black teens say they use Instagram almost constantly, compared with about 1 in 5 white teens who responded similarly.
"They're first-movers, in many ways," said Amanda Lenhart, the lead researcher on the poll, whose work has focused on teenagers and social media use. "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."
Overall, teens with access to a smartphone are more likely to use Instagram than those without one — 80
Among all teens, the poll shows three-quarters use Instagram and Snapchat, more than the two-thirds who say they use Facebook.
And while texting is still the way 9 in 10 teens send short messages, 4 in 10 also use a messaging app, such as Kik, WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook Messenger. Thirty-four
More than 9 in 10 black teens — 95
The poll shows that older teens are more likely to be frequent users of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and are also especially likely to have access to a smartphone.
Hope Wright only uses her iPhone for social media — never her laptop, which she uses only for schoolwork. She said she only sends texts to friends and family. And the Wilmington, North Carolina, eighth-grader said that even when she is on Snapchat or Instagram, she's mostly lurking and doesn't post often.
"I don't actually want to have a lot of social media," said Wright, 14. "I've heard a lot of things happen that I want to avoid. Some people use it to make friends, but I don't. I make them in person."
The AP-NORC poll of 790 teenagers age 13-17 was conducted online and by phone Dec. 7-31, 2016. A sample of parents with teenage children was drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Parents then gave permission for their children to be interviewed. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.
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