More and more young adults addicted to social media

© Hollandse Hoogte / Sabine Joosten
In 2017, 29 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds were addicted to social media in their own view, up from 19 percent in 2015. The share of 25-year-olds who consider themselves addicted is relatively lower. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new figures taken from the survey ‘Perceptions’ 2017.

Feeling addicted to social media, 2017
 Addicted (% of social media users)
Age in years
18 to 2428.7
25 to 3416.7
35 to 449
45 to 545.8
55 to 642.5
65 or older2

Perceptions 2017 is an annual survey which is conducted by CBS to gain an understanding of views and sentiments in Dutch society based on people’s perceptions and opinions, with survey topics varying from year to year. This year’s survey includes questions related to social media. The same questions were asked in Perceptions 2015 to young people aged between 12 and 25.

Young adults spending more hours per day on social media

In 2017, 18 to 24-year-olds spent more time on social media than in 2015. In 2015, 17 percent spent 3 to 5 hours a day on social media and 4 percent 5 to 10 hours. In 2017, these shares had increased to 29 and 9 percent respectively. Of all age groups, young adults spent most time on social media. The fact that young adults spend more time on social media than older people partly explains why they are more likely to consider themselves addicted.

18 to 24-year-olds: hours per day on social media
 Up to 1 hour (% of social media users)1 to 3 hours (% of social media users)3 to 5 hours (% of social media users)5 to 10 hours (% of social media users)10 hours or more (% of social media users)

18 to 24-year-olds more often afraid to miss out

34 percent of young adults say they are afraid to miss out on things if they do not use social media. 22 percent feel uneasy when they cannot check incoming messages instantly. No Internet access is considered unpleasant by 37 percent. All of these indicators have increased compared to 2015. Older users of social media experience are less afraid to miss out on things (17 percent) and are not as restless when they cannot check their message instantly (12 percent). Compared to young adults, they are less likely to find it unpleasant when they cannot go online (22 percent).

18 to 24-year-olds: importance of social media
 2017 (% of social media users)2015 (% of social media users)
Find it unpleasant being unable to go online 36.531.7
Afraid to miss out on things33.926.7
Become restless when unable to check messages21.616.7

Sleep of 4 in 10 young adults affected by social media

More and more young adults experience a negative impact on their lives by social media. The number of young adults who mainly experience a negative influence on their sleep increased from 26 percent in 2015 to 41 percent in 2017. On the contrary, they are more positive about the impact of social media on their contacts with friends and family. In 2017, both the positive and negative influence on academic performance increased relative to 2015.

18 to 24-year-olds: influence of social media
 Positive (% of social media users)None (% of social media users)Negative (% of social media users)
Academic performance
Contact with family and friends