Kids’ app use this summer up 20%, led by Instagram

  • Instagram is the most popular app of the summer, with kids connecting on average 108 minutes per day
  • YouTube ranks as the video app most used by kids and teens, with 28% growth, followed closely by Netflix at 25% growth. 
  • Video game apps showed the lowest growth. In fact, Brawl Stars experienced an 8% drop. 
  • Qustodio has carried out an analysis of app use over the summer by 4–18-year-olds in Spain. 

Summer is here and with it come the selfies from people on the beach, by the pool, and eating ice cream. The hashtag #summer2021 is nearing 3 million posts on Instagram. But not everything is sun and fun. The summer season is also accompanied by the great challenge for parents of trying to combine work with their children’s free time. Only 1 in 3 families feel they are able to effectively combine work and family life over the summer. And, just as during the pandemic, some parents turn to tablets and screens to help them fill the gap. 

After a very digital school year, this summer was supposed to be about disconnecting, getting outdoors and taking a break from screens. But with the Delta variant, and hard-to-break digital habits, it’s not looking that way. According to an analysis of app use in July carried out by Qustodio of children 4-18 years old in Spain, screen time is up 20% compared to the spring — the first two weeks of May. 

Qustodio found that social media and online video apps showed the most growth. Instagram is the most used app this summer, with kids now spending 35% more time on the app than in the spring, at an average of 108 minutes per day. Instagram is followed by WhatsApp, Tiktok, YouTube, Spotify, Clash Royale, Netflix, Discord and SnapChatTime kids spent on the other social media favorite, TikTok, grew 19%, to an average of 100 minutes per day. 

Video platforms also saw huge growth, with time on YouTube up 28% at an average of 68 minutes per day and time on the Netflix app up 25%, at an average of 50 minutes a day. Although YouTube Kids was not within the Top 10, it is significant to highlight its growth, up 34% over the summer, going from 72 minutes a day to 97. 

In contrast, video games saw the least growth, with time on Clash Royale up 10%, but time on Brawl Stars down 8%. On average, time connected to these apps hovered around 33 minutes per day, the same as in the spring. 

Twitch closes out the top 10 with an average of 34 minutes per day in July compared to 33 minutes per day last May. 

“It is undeniable that the effects of the health crisis and confinement have influenced the digital, social and leisure behaviors of our children,” said Eduardo Cruz, CEO and co-founder of Qustodio. “That’s why it is crucial that parents not fall into the trap of using screens as digital babysitters. To guarantee their child’s digital safety and overall health, parents need to set firm limits on screen time use and prioritize non-screen activities, this summer and all year long.”