Skip to content
Evidence Base

Orig. title: WhatsApp, Instagram und Co. – so süchtig macht Social Media. DAK-Studie: Befragung von Kindern und Jugendlichen zwischen 12 und 17 Jahren

Engl. transl.: WhatsApp, Instagram and Co. - social media is so addictive. DAK study: Survey of children and adolescents between 12- to 17-year-olds


Social media addiction media usage usage time

Publication details

Year: 2018
Issued: 2018
Language: German
Authors: DAK-Gesundheit
Type: Report and working paper
Topics: Internet usage, practices and engagement; Wellbeing
Sample: "A total of 1.001 children and adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age were interviewed." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 5) [translated by the coder]
Implications For Parents About: Parenting guidance / support ; Parental practices / parental mediation
Implications For Educators About: Other
Implications For Policy Makers About: Stepping up awareness and empowerment


"The internet and advancing digitalisation have revolutionised the way we network with other people: Children and young people in particular now communicate mainly in real-time via WhatsApp or Snapchat. Photos are no longer viewed together but posted on Instagram or Facebook. Social media are important communication channels - especially for the young. But liking must not become an affliction. What happens when social life shifts predominantly to the virtual? When sleep, relationships and moods suffer as a result of using social media? Many children and young people in Germany chat and post from early in the morning until late at night. Some slip into addiction. We have to react to this so that those affected and their families get help. Since we accompany our insured throughout their lives, we start early with our research. We want to identify the risks, name them and offer help. With our study "WhatsApp, Instagram und Co. – so süchtig macht Social Media" and concrete counselling offers, DAK-Gesundheit, together with the addiction experts around Professor Rainer Thomasius from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), provides orientation and preventive support. The analysis is the first representative study to examine the risk of addiction to social media in Germany." (cf. Storm 2018, 2) [translated by the coder]


"A key finding of the survey is that the vast majority (85 per cent) of 12 to 17-year-olds normally uses social media 7 days a week. Only very few use social media less frequently than once a week or not at all. The average frequency of use increases for girls and boys with increasing age. Among 16-17-year-olds, almost all respondents normally use social media every day." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 29) A"cross all age groups, the average time of use per day is just under 3 hours (166 minutes). Girls' usage time (182 minutes) is higher than boys' usage time (151 minutes). Among the respondents who, according to their own assessment, will graduate from high school, the usage time (149 minutes) is lower than among children and adolescents with an intermediate or lower school certificate (207 minutes)." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 29) "Children and young people who use social media spend the most time using WhatsApp (66 per cent), Instagram (14 per cent) and Snapchat (9 per cent)." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 29) "The present study also asked about the unfavourable effects caused by the use of social media. 8 per cent of 12 to 17-year-old social media users say that they maintain contact with their friends exclusively via social media. Another 9 per cent say that this is true for most of their friends. 6 per cent of the respondents have arguments with their parents about their use of social media very often or often. Too little sleep because of social media use is reported by one in five 12 to 17-year-olds (17 per cent), and for 6 per cent this happens rather often or frequently." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 30) "2.6 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds in Germany show problematic use of social media - 3.4 per cent of girls and 1.9 per cent of boys. This difference between the sexes is statistically not significant." (cf. DAK-Gesundheit 2018, 31) [translated by the coder]

Related studies

All results