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Snapchat Beats TikTok for Top Place with High School Students

Snapchat has emerged as the top app among high school students, with 61% of them reporting that they used it four or more times the day before participating in the CensusAtSchool questionnaire. TikTok closely followed with 60%. In contrast, primary school students preferred YouTube, with 59% stating they used it four or more times, followed by TikTok at 29%.

These insights come from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a non-profit online educational project that brings statistics to life in English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students anonymously answer 34 questions in English or te reo Māori. The project is run by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Stats NZ. This year, around 35,000 students from 647 schools have participated in the project so far.

Apps Used Four or More Times the Day Before

High school students (Years 9-13):

  • 61% Snapchat
  • 60% TikTok
  • 49% Instagram
  • 48% YouTube
  • 18% Discord
  • 17% WhatsApp
  • 12% Facebook
  • 11% Pinterest
  • 7% BeReal
  • 5% Twitter

Primary school students (Years 3-8):

  • 59% YouTube
  • 29% TikTok
  • 22% Snapchat
  • 13% Discord
  • 10% Instagram
  • 9% WhatsApp
  • 7% Pinterest
  • 4% Facebook
  • 2% Twitter
  • 2% BeReal

Screen Time After School

High school students said they spent a median of 3.5 hours on screens after school the day before participating in the questionnaire. A quarter of them spent 5 hours or more on screens, while only 1.6% said they spent no time on screens after school that day.

Primary school students said they spent a median of 2 hours on screens after school the day before taking part, and a quarter of them spent 4 hours or more on screens. Additionally, 7.8% of the participants reported not spending any time on screens after school that day.

Co-director of CensusAtSchool Annel Patel says, “Screen time is a big issue in our home and my 8 and 10-year-old daughters don’t even have phones yet! We use tech to monitor their screen time, enforcing a daily two-hour limit and only allowing access to YouTube Kids. I’m mindful that my own screen habits set an example for my daughters’ healthy expectations.”

Online Blocking

Online blocking is also prevalent among high school students, with 33% stating that they had blocked someone online in the past week. This behaviour was more common with the younger high school students and females.

The CensusAtSchool team is collaborating with Tūturu – a modern approach to student wellbeing – to create a resource that helps students analyse and explore the CensusAtSchool data.

Annabel Prescott, Learning & Development Director for Tūturu at the NZ Drug Foundation, commented on the high percentage of students saying they had blocked someone within the past week. “Young people use blocking as a strategy to manage relationships and set boundaries. This is perceived by young people as very normal behaviour, and quite different from how adults engage with social media”.

“We are excited to be working with CensusAtSchool and health and education experts to develop a teaching resource that will help students explore data, what it means to them, their peers, and their wellbeing; and consider what health-promoting actions can be taken to help students navigate a digital world”.

The eleventh biennial edition of CensusAtSchool was launched on February 13 and will continue until the end of 2024. See the questions, which schools are taking part, and a live dashboard on CensusAtSchool’s website: