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Poll: Most teens have taken social media break

NEW YORK — The common stereotype has teens glued to their phones 24-7. But nearly 60 percent of teens in the U.S. have actually taken a break from social media — the bulk of them voluntarily, a new survey found .

The poll, from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, surveyed teens aged 13 to 17 and found that most value the feeling of connection with friends and family that social media provides. A much smaller number associate it with negative emotions, such as being overwhelmed or needing to always show their best selves.

The survey, released Thursday, found that teens’ social media breaks are typically a week or longer, and that boys are more likely to take longer breaks.

Teens were allowed to cite multiple reasons for their breaks. Nearly two-thirds of teens who took a break cited at least one voluntary reason. Amanda Lenhart, the lead researcher and an expert on young people and technology use, said she was surprised by this, as it counters the broader narrative that teens are “handcuffed” to their social media profiles.

Today’s teenagers might not recall a time before social media. MySpace was founded in 2003. Had it survived, it would be 14 years old today. Facebook is a year younger. Instagram launched in 2010. For an adult to understand what it might be like for someone who grew up with it to step back from social media, consider disconnecting from email — or your phone — for a couple of weeks.