Teens and the Internet: The Future of Digital Diversity


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Kristen Purcell will speak at the the Fred Rogers Center's Fred Forward Conference about recent research on teens' online activities.

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  • The vast majority of teens today use the internet, matching young adults at 93%.
  • What are they doing online? Here are some activities to give you a sense of how teens spend their time online….SNS increasing, blogging decreasing (connection), Twitter not so popular, small number visit virtual worlds. Creating and sharing content – holding steady And like adults, teens use the internet as an information source and consumer gateway -- just some interesting tidbits from the survey…
  • A lot of this online activity is enabled by the spread of home broadband – ¾ families with teens have BB today
  • Yet, while most teens are online and most have bb, there is still a digital divide
  • Now to the new part of the online teen (and adult story)….cell phones Teen cell phone ownership has skyrocketed
  • Same is true for adult cell phone ownership – large increases in the past five years, to the point where roughly a quarter of adults now live in cell phone only households and telephone surveys include 500 cell phone interviews to balance our sample
  • Among teens, cell phone ownership jumps at 13, and then steadily increases with age
  • Significant differences in teen cell ownership by household income, with 75K+ much more likely to own phones than those in middle in come and lower income households
  • Why is this important? Cell phones have changed the nature of internet access. We’re seeing huge growth in the percent of adult wireless internet users (cell or laptop), particularly among those under age 50. Wireless is the new broadband – it drives online behavior, they are distinct, more engaged online in almost all activities
  • And most significant, indications are that wireless is lessening the digital divide between white and non-white adults. (Bullet 2 – staggering) Nonwhite adults are more likely to go online via cell, AA are the most active users of the mobile internet, and AA mobile use is growing at rates higher than Hispanic and white mobile use
  • So is this same trend happening among teens? We don’t have a comparable wireless definition for teens, but we do know that they use multiple gadgets, many of them handheld, to go online. About a quarter of teen cell phone owners go online via their phones – for many, it offers a less expensive alternative to a desktop or laptop and is their primary connection to the internet.
  • Teens and the Internet: The Future of Digital Diversity

    1. Teens and the Internet: The Future of Digital Diversity Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. Associate Director, Pew Internet Project Fred Forward Conference March 23, 2010
    2. Today’s Agenda <ul><li>What do we know about teen internet access and use today? </li></ul><ul><li>What do the trends tell us about the future of digital diversity? </li></ul>
    4. Online Activities <ul><li>73% of online teens use SNS (up 50%) </li></ul><ul><li>14% blog (down 50%) </li></ul><ul><li>8% use Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>8% visit online virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>38% share content online (steady) </li></ul><ul><li>21% remix content (steady) </li></ul><ul><li>62% get news about current events and politics </li></ul><ul><li>48% buy things online </li></ul><ul><li>31% get health, dieting, fitness info </li></ul><ul><li>17% get info about sensitive health topics </li></ul>
    6. Digital Diversity <ul><li>Teen internet access highest among teens with… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>College-educated parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual household incomes above $50,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Same pattern exists for high-speed access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High-speed connection means greater engagement in online activities </li></ul></ul>
    11. Adult Wireless Rates
    12. Adults & Wireless Internet <ul><li>Wireless internet users are more engaged in online activities </li></ul><ul><li>Half of all African-American adults (48%) have used their cell phone to access the internet, compared with 40% of Hispanic adults and 31% of white adults. </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, African-American adults are the most active users of the mobile internet. </li></ul><ul><li>African-American mobile internet use is growing at a faster rate than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics. </li></ul>
    14. Kaiser Family Foundation: Generation M 2 <ul><li>84% of 8-18 year-olds have internet access in their homes; 59% have a high-speed connection </li></ul><ul><li>66% of 8-18 year-olds own a cell phone, up from 39% in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>31% of 8-10 year-olds own a cell phone; 17% have a laptop; 65% have a handheld gaming device </li></ul><ul><li>African-American and Hispanic youth spend more time consuming media, particularly on cell phones </li></ul>
    15. Available at www.pewinternet.org... <ul><li>Social Media and Young Adults http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>Teens and Mobile Phones 2004-2009 http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/14--Teens-and-Mobile-Phones-Data-Memo.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>Wireless Internet Use http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/12-Wireless-Internet-Use.aspx </li></ul>