Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview
55% of online teens use social networks and 55% have created online profiles; older girls predominate
55% of online teens have created a personal profile online, and 55% have used social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.
Washington-- More than half (55%) of all of online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends. A social networking site is an online place where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. The explosive growth in the popularity of these sites has generated concerns among some parents, school officials, and government leaders about the potential risks posed to young people when personal information is made available in such a public setting. The data memo, written by Senior Research Specialists Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden, is based on a survey conducted by telephone from October 23 through November 19, 2006 among a national sample of 935 youths ages 12 to 17. The survey asked about the ways that teenagers use social networking sites and their reasons for doing so. Among the key findings:
- 55% of online teens have created a personal profile online, and 55% have used social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.
- 66% of teens who have created a profile say that their profile is not visible to all internet users.
- 48% of teens visit social networking websites daily or more often; 26% visit once a day, 22% visit several times a day.
- Older girls ages 15-17 are more likely to have used social networking sites and created online profiles; 70% of older girls have used an online social network compared with 54% of older boys, and 70% of older girls have created an online profile, while only 57% of older boys have done so.
Reprinted with the permission of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. © 2000 - 2008 Pew Internet & American Life Project.
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