The eleventh Biennial edition of Census at School is open until the end of the year.

Since the survey opened in February 35000 students from 647 schools have taken part.

Be sure to register and have your students take part 

Snapchat has emerged as the top app among high school students, with 61% of them reporting that they used it four or more times the day before participating in the CensusAtSchool questionnaire. TikTok closely followed with 60%. In contrast, primary school students preferred YouTube, with 59% stating they used it four or more times, followed by TikTok at 29%.

Apps Used Four or More Times the Day Before

High school students (Years 9-13) Primary school students (Years 3-8)
61% Snapchat
60% TikTok
49% Instagram
48% YouTube
18% Discord
17% WhatsApp
12% Facebook
11% Pinterest
7% BeReal
5% Twitter
59% YouTube
29% TikTok
22% Snapchat
13% Discord
10% Instagram
9% WhatsApp
7% Pinterest
4% Facebook
2% Twitter
2% BeReal


Screen Time After School

High school students said they spent a median of 3.5 hours on screens after school the day before participating in the questionnaire. A quarter of them spent 5 hours or more on screens, while only 1.6% said they spent no time on screens after school that day.

Primary school students said they spent a median of 2 hours on screens after school the day before taking part, and a quarter of them spent 4 hours or more on screens. Additionally, 7.8% of the participants reported not spending any time on screens after school that day.

Co-director of CensusAtSchool Annel Patel says, “Screen time is a big issue in our home and my 8 and 10-year-old daughters don’t even have phones yet! We use tech to monitor their screen time, enforcing a daily two-hour limit and only allowing access to YouTube Kids. I’m mindful that my own screen habits set an example for my daughters’ healthy expectations.”

Online Blocking

Online blocking is also prevalent among high school students, with 33% stating that they had blocked someone online in the past week. This behaviour was more common with the younger high school students and females.

The CensusAtSchool team is collaborating with Tūturu – a modern approach to student wellbeing – to create a resource that helps students analyse and explore the CensusAtSchool data.

Annabel Prescott, Learning & Development Director for Tūturu at the NZ Drug Foundation, commented on the high percentage of students saying they had blocked someone within the past week. “Young people use blocking as a strategy to manage relationships and set boundaries. This is perceived by young people as very normal behaviour, and quite different from how adults engage with social media”.

“We are excited to be working with CensusAtSchool and health and education experts to develop a teaching resource that will help students explore data, what it means to them, their peers, and their wellbeing; and consider what health-promoting actions can be taken to help students navigate a digital world”.

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