How Do Instagram Habits Vary Between Teens & Adults?

How do social media habits vary between teens and adults?

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Did you know that 90 percent of all Instagram users are under the age of 35? That might not come as a total shock, but a recent study investigated the differing ways teens and adults use the social media site. The results are fascinating! Sure, they're using the exact same app, but their activity varies. Researchers from Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology found that teens use Instagram more for self-expression and conversation than the older generation does.

The study analyzed the Instagram behavior of 27,000 teens and adults. That's a lot of data! For research purposes, the adults are aged between 25-39, and the teens are 13-19.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that teens post less photos than adults. Considering there's the assumption that kids' faces are always glued to their phone screens, it's fascinating that they don't post as many photos. According to the researchers, the reason may be that teens don't really have the same resources as adults to explore environments beyond their daily activities.

Even though they posted less pictures, researchers discovered teens were selective with what they posted, sometimes trying to get more likes on photos, or deleting photos that didn't reach a certain amount of likes.

Another finding? The topics between the age groups varied. Teens' Instagram images were mostly categorized as related to "mood/emotion" and "follow/like." Meanwhile, adults were more likely to post "arts/photos/design," "locations," "nature," and "social/people" types of photos. Oh, and teens post more selfies than adults! (Is anyone surprised, there?)

For more about this topic, check out past Choices articles "Help! I Can't Put My Phone Down" and "Debate: Is Selfie Culture Out Of Control?"