This weekend you would have seen New Zealand news outlets saying 45% of teens were online, and Facebook was fading… according to Pew Research center, and while this is true for US teens it’s not so much for NZ teens.

For NZ teens you need NZ online data, and if you are going to use articles to base some of your parental or even advertising decisions on, its best you use the data that is relevant for your region.

So NZ this is for you.

Time spent online

In NZ’s netsafe research survey released in February 2018, found that only a third (33%) of New Zealand teens spend more than 4hrs on average online each day.

Majority of teens don’t spend that much time on the internet compared to their parents, with the majority 38% online for 2-4hrs each day.


While they use a range of devices to access online, the device of choice were smartphones and laptops.

In fact, 59% of teens said they used 3 or more devices to connect online, with the remaining 41% using two.

Gender plays a significant role in the multi-device world, with females more likely to use a laptop while males used Gaming consoles and Gaming desktops to connect online.

Social Media

Teens tend to have multiple social media tools, and NZ is no different, with teens saying they use 4 -10 different social media platforms

But gender again plays a role in creating differences as to the usage of each platform.

33% of male teens used Youtube more than females (16%), while females used Snapchat and Instagram more heavily than their male counterparts.

25% of teens said they use Youtube the most often, with Facebook and Snapchat both at 23% with Facebook products Messenger and Instagram at 13% and 11% respectively.

So if you were to not separate FB products, technically FB still dominates with 47% of teens using the platform’s products.

16-17yrs were more likely to use Facebook, Messenger, and Tumblr than those aged 14-15yr olds, highlighting the generational differences emerging within the platforms.

 What teens do on social media

Teens do on social media what teens have been doing for a millenia…they have extremely uninteresting teen conversations that for them, mean life or death.

That’s right they talk….cause teenagers.

53% percent of females send text/messages to each other compared to 41% of male teens who also do the same.

But the majority of all teens go online to entertain themselves.

61% of males tend to go online to do entertaining activities such as playing games while talking to their friends (think Fortnite) compared to 46% of females who go online to purely socialise.

What teens do hasn’t changed, just where they do it.

Online Safety

Any parent who has a teen would have heard the parenting advice to “limit teens online usage”, for their protection…. effectively in parent language that is the equivalent of our parents being told to limit our phone calls.

In fact, most teens thought time limits for online protection that time limits and browser monitoring actually wasn’t that helpful in terms of online protection.

“Because teens know how to unblock, people make new accounts, setting time limits doesn’t do anything, age
limits don’t matter, teens still use things with an older age limit and monitoring what we do online doesn’t matter, it’s called incognito tabs we know how to use them. It blocks recent search history.” said one 15yr old during the survey.

Instead, having open conversations and being more aware of parents teens lives would be a more awkward but more effective means of protection, as one 16yr old girl said ““By taking away access to the internet
or a digital device, kids are more likely to do things online behind parents’ backs. They’d feel they would need to
hide it if something did happen online that was bad.”

NZ teens  differ to their overseas counterparts, regional differences matter, internet access, economic differences and even language use can be vastly different affecting how teenagers utilize each online tool.

What hasn’t changed is bored teenagers, the incessant need for talking and wanting to be where their friends are.



Charis McAwesome, co-founder and manager of – Charis has worked in digital for over 10yrs specialising in digital management, analytics, digital advertising, social media, digital pathways, and CRM services.

She’s also most likely to call bullshit and get Hashtag in the shit.

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