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Potty-breaking youngsters love their social networks

Americans, who now own an average of four digital devices, are demonstrating a heightened appetite to eat up as much digital content as they can get their hands on.

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Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Social media is so pervasive that a growing percentage of young people refuse to part with their favorite networks -- even when nature is calling.

Some 40 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 use social media in the bathroom, which is up from 32 percent in the previous year, according to Nielsen's Digital Consumer Report. The group is two times more likely than the national average to social network when visiting the loo.

Nielsen's report, published Monday, is compiled from a variety of sources and includes data from an online survey with a representative sample of 2,020 adult social media users in the US.

Americans' social media behaviors. Nielsen

With the survey, the firm also found that more than half of adults ages 25 to 34 (56 percent) in the US use social media while at work, and that households raking in $150,000 or more are most likely to be digitally social while at the office. And to the surprise of no one who has been force fed food pics in their feed, 44 percent of the same young adult group social network around the restaurant table.

Unsurprisingly, Nielsen, which also measures consumer activity on smartphones, determined that social media app usage is up significantly from last year. Almost half, or 47 percent, of US smartphone owners visited social networks every day, according to the analytics firm. The unique audience for social media smartphone apps increased 37 percent between July 2012 and July 2013.

When it comes to the sheer size of its audience, Facebook, with 109 million US monthly users who spend, on average, about seven-and-a-half hours per month with its smartphone apps, continues to dominate. The social network is, however, facing stiffer competition from up-and-comers. Pinterest grew its monthly unique US audience for its mobile apps to 16 million people, which is up 233 percent year over year. The inspirational network for collecting ideas now averages 1 hour and 39 minutes per person who uses the app each month. Meanwhile Instagram's mobile app audience in the US grew by 79 percent to 35 million over a 12-month period, while time spent per person now stands at 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Americans are also demonstrating a heightened appetite to eat up as much digital content as they can -- any way they can get it. Nielsen found that people in the US now own, on average, four digital devices, and they spend 60 hours a week consuming content across their devices.

Correction, 12:53 p.m. PT: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the time spent on social networks per month. On average, users spend 7.5 hours per month with Facebook's smartphone apps, 1 hour and 39 minutes per month with Pinterest's mobile apps, and 3 hours and 40 minutes per month with Instagram's mobile apps.