Ever wonder what teens do on their phones all day? If they aren’t messaging with friends, they’re probably watching videos. For this generation, videos aren’t just a way to pass the time — they’re avenues of exploration, education, connection, and cultural currency to share with friends. Not only is this how teens in the US communicate and relate with one another, it’s also the way they self-soothe and meet their own emotional needs.

To learn more about American teens’ online video habits, here are some results of a recent US survey carried out with our Awesomeness brand in mind:

American teens rely on YouTube. Over 4 in 10 American teens surveyed think YouTube has the most entertaining content (46%), while 35% report that they consult YouTube first when they’re bored. They say YouTube is best for laughing (45%), relieving stress (43%), passing the time (40%), relieving boredom (40%), feeling happier (38%), and learning (29%).

They prefer content that is short and makes them laugh. Most teens (86%) claim that the videos they watch are usually less than 10 minutes – and 55% say they’re less than 5 minutes. The majority say they’re more likely to watch a video all the way through if it’s funny.

Music videos are the preferred online video format for both genders. American teen boys’ top formats are music videos (49%), full-length movies (41%), live streams (38%), full-length TV shows (35%), and compilations (35%). Among girls, the favorites are music videos (65%), full-length movies (55%), tutorials (51%), full-length TV shows (51%), and compilations (40%).

Gaming is the top online video topic among boys, while girls prefer music and comedy. The favorite online video topics among American teen boys are gaming (64%), comedy (57%), music (50%), pranks (40%), and sports (33%). Teen girls in the US like music (64%), comedy (63%), beauty (58%), DIY (51%), and food/cooking (47%).

American teens are most likely to watch a video if the topic is compelling. Having an interesting topic is by far the most important reason they choose to watch a video (63%). Other deciding factors are the person who created the video (49%), the channel the video is on (47%), the title (42%), or appearing as a suggested video (34%).

Short, online videos meet more of their personal emotional needs. American teens think online videos are best for learning (58%), laughing (53%), relieving boredom (49%), passing the time (44%), reducing stress (43%), and staying “in the know” (40%).

TV is more of a social experience. Teens in the US enjoy watching cable as well as streamed TV with others. They see cable TV shows as best for watching with family (43%), keeping up with what’s going on in the world (42%), and falling asleep (33%). They perceive streamed TV shows as best for watching with friends (50%), being scared (47%), and watching with family (43%).