The social media detox: How attitude towards social media are changing

Almost a year into the pandemic and 3 lockdowns in, naturally we’ve all exhausted all the new ways available to keep connected whilst confined to our homes. Inevitably most of us will have initially turned to social media trends and zoom calls in order to fill the social void, however, it seems Brits are growing tired of TikTok challenges, memes and empty social interactions, with a new Money survey revealing that over half (58%) of the UK have undergone a social media detox.

Generational Habits

Millennials have been revealed as the most affected generation, with a majority 43% of those who have deleted a social media app being aged between 25-44. Baby Boomers rank as the second ‘most likely’ to take part in a social media detox (21%), followed by Gen X (19%). This leaves the youngest generation (Gen Zers), as the ‘least likely’ to give up social media (18%) and the most addicted to logging on to check their feeds.

The survey goes on to reveal that 40% of those who have taken a break from their social media say that they never intend on logging back on at all and half of those abstaining on a permanent basis are millennials. It would seem that the increased level of ‘down time’, is making users re-assess their long term relationship with social media as platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter start to be dropped from daily life.

It has also been found that women are most likely to take a break from sharing their latest goings on on social media, with over half (57%) of all week-long social media detoxes undergone by women. Men, however, have been revealed to be most likely to take a more drastic approach to detoxes by permanently deleting apps 55% of the time compared to 45% of women.

Screen Usage

Collecting details from mobile phone users’ screen reports,‘s new study reveals 25-44-year-olds as the generation spending the most of their ‘screen time’ on social media, with over 40% revealing that social media is their most-used category - ⅔ of whom are female.

When delving deeper into users’ screen reports, statistics determined that 41% of Brits claim to only use their phones for less than two hours - those aged between over 55 make up for the ⅔ of users using their phones for this amount of time. At the other end of the scale, only 6% of Brits will have racked up more than 10 hours a day’s worth of screen time throughout the last year.

Those aged 18-24 are using their phones between eight and 10 hours every day, making up for 16% of users racking up this amount of screen time, whilst only 5% of Gen Zers will use their phone for less than two hours a day.

When using gender analysis in screen time usage reports we can see that on average men are more likely to spend more hours on their phone, with 26% of male respondents admitting they spend over 4 hours a day whilst, whereas only 19% of women admitted to the same.

App Popularity

TikTok continues to be the most popular social media app used by those under the age of 24. Those aged 18-24 make up for over 1/3 of TikTok’s users, making the younger generation twice more likely to favour the video-sharing platform compared to millennials.

Instagram keeps top spot for millennials, who make up for 50% of Instagram’s most frequent users. Most surprisingly of all however, elder platform Facebook continues to occupy first place overall for the UK’s most used social media app.

Whilst Facebook continues to lead the way for popularity amongst social media users, video-sharing platform YouTube has ranked in second place across all age groups - Instagram, Twitter and TikTok make up the remainder of the top five as expected.

Indicative of how Brits are spending their screen time during lockdown, the study continues on to confirm Entertainment apps as the nation’s second most used app category, followed by closely by the Communications category which includes apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Skype. The Fitness & Health and Productivity & Finance apps ranked as the lesser used, with Utilities finally being used least of all.
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