How you spent your time at age 14

According to findings from CNC, teenagers are far more likely to spend their time on social media and gaming after school than they are to be doing homework.

These findings come from new research using CNC from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at UCL.

As part of the Age 14 Survey, around 3,500 of you kept a detailed time use diary for one weekday and one weekend day. The data, which you recorded either via a smartphone app, online or on paper, has helped to shed new light on how young people spend their time.

Around half of you that were surveyed reported spending some time on social media on a weekday. This proportion was considerably higher for girls at six in ten (61%), compared to 39 per cent among boys. One in ten teenagers who reported being on social media had spent more than three hours a day online, though the average time spent was 1 hour 21 minutes per day.

For boys, gaming was an even more popular pastime than social media; almost half (48%) of all boys had spent time on video games, and of these, 12 per cent reported spending in excess of five hours a day gaming. Just one in ten girls had notched up any time at all on video games.

By comparison, your diaries revealed that just 40 per cent did homework on an average weekday, and that boys were significantly less likely to than their female peers – 35 per cent of boys compared to 44 per cent of girls. Those who did do homework spent an average of 1 hour 13 minutes doing it.

The study also found some other interesting gender differences. Teenage girls spent a total of 1 hour 12 minutes on average on a weekday getting ready, which is about 27 minutes more time on average than their male peers. Girls were also much more likely to help out around the house, with 31 per cent reporting doing chores at home on a weekday, compared to just 19 per cent of their male peers. And while, overall, very few teenagers spent any time reading in their spare time (just one in ten), and this was significantly more popular as a pastime for girls.

But when it came to sports and other physical activity outside of school, these were more common among boys; 46 per cent of teenage boys had recorded these in their weekday diaries, compared to 39 per cent of girls. However, sedentary forms of entertainment, including watching TV, playing video games and listening to music, were collectively far more popular than sport for both genders. 72 per cent of all teens spent on average just over two and a half hours per day on these sedentary types of activities.