The past several years have seen an explosion in teenagers' use of the Internet. In response to the growing online presence of teens, a digital media culture has emerged that entertains, informs, and connects teens to one another. This "virtual mall" is a place where teens go to socialize with friends, listen to music, do their homework, window shop, and follow the latest trends.
Prevalence of Teens Online
- Census Bureau data indicate that between 1998 and 2001, the proportion of teens (ages 14–17) using the Internet increased from 51% to 75%, and the proportion of "tweens" online (ages 10–13) increased from 39% to 65%.1
- According to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet Project in Fall 2000, 73% of all teens ages 12–17 have used the Internet.2 A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in Fall 2001 found that 95% of all teens ages 15–17 had ever gone online.3
How Teens Learn to Use the Internet
- Most kids say they teach themselves how to use the Internet (40%), while others learn from their parents (30%) or friends (23%), and fewer from siblings (10%) or in a class (5%).4
Where Teens Access the Net
- Census data from Fall 2001 indicate that half (51%) of kids ages 10–13 and 61% of those ages 14–17 have Internet access at home.5
- Another survey of older teens (15–17) found an even higher percentage with online access at home: 83%, including 29% with access from their bedrooms.6
- A survey of families with home Internet access indicates that 7 out of 10 (70%) locate the computer in an open space such as a family room, den, study, or living room, whereas almost 3 in 10 (27%) put the computer in a private area such as a bedroom.
- According to U.S. Census data, 43% of teens 14–17 use the Internet both at home and school, 19% only at home, and 13% only at school.8
How Often Teens Go Online
- Studies indicate that close to half of teens go online every day, with the vast majority going online at least once a week.9
Reprinted with the permission of the Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2008 The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
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