How Gen Z’s social habits differ from older Canadians

Instagram, Snapchat more popular for teens, ‘liking’ posts and messaging friends most frequent activities, according to a new MTM Junior report.

Social media continues to grow among Canadian teens and a new study from Media Technology Monitor finds the group prefers visually stimulating platforms best.

MTM took a deep dive into the role social media plays in the lives of Canadians aged 12 to 17 surveying 1,660 households to collect data from 2,270 children and teens.

Approximately 72% of Canadian teens use social media, though Anglophones more so (74%) than Francophones (64%). Of those users, 39% have their social activity monitored by parents, 36% of whom also have access to those accounts.

Just one-quarter of teens use only one social platform; for the most part they prefer the kind that are mobile and visual focused. Instagram is significantly more popular among teens (67%) than it is Canadians 18 and older (43%).

The most popular activity among 76% of teens on Instagram is “liking” the posts of others, followed by 56% who said it was messaging friends and 51% who said it was watching videos. The report found Instagram is where teens are most likely to follow brands and social media stars.

Facebook still resonates with both generations, but a greater number of older Canadians, 91%, favour it as compared to 65% of teens. Similar to Instagram, 68% of teen users are “liking” posts while 63% are messaging friends and 52% are watching videos.

Snapchat is also favoured among 57% of Canadian teens versus 23% of those 18-plus. It narrowly beats Instagram in terms of daily use as 70% of teens said it was their most used social platform compared to 68% who said it was Instagram. Nearly 40% of teen users check Snapchat multiple times per day and 31% said it is “always on.”

Rarely do teens and parents share accounts; the report found more than 97% of teens have their own accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.