I would like to track social media usage among teens and college students before and during the pandemic. Currently, the only variable I found that relates to social media use is 120308 Computer use for leisure (excluding games). This variable is too broad as it includes computer programming, general internet browsing, etc.
Does anyone have experience tracking social media use and if so how did you go about doing that?
The code 120308, computer use for leisure (excluding games), in the ACTIVITY variable is likely the activity code that best captures social media use in the American Time Use Survey. This activity code does include social media use, as shown on page 50 of the 2021 American Time Use Survey Activity Lexicon. But it does not distinguish between social media use and other computer use for leisure. If you require more precise identification of social media use, I suggest looking for data outside of IPUMS and the American Time Use Survey.
The organization Common Sense publishes research on teens’ media use, including social media use. Their data may be useful to you. This is their report on media use by tweens and teens in 2021.
You may have success searching for existing scholarly research on social media use to find out what data have been used to answer research questions similar to yours.
Thanks for your insight Isabel!