Teenagers and technology usage

Teen usages of technologyChurch Relevance just posted a survey by The Pew Internet & American Life Project. They polled teenagers aged 12 to 17 to learn more about their use of technology.

I find it interesting that the best way to communicate with students (other than in-person, of course) is still by telephone. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to use text messaging, instant messaging, forums, podcasts, blogs and e-mail when maybe the old telephone still works best.

Internet Usage

  • 87% of U.S. teens aged 12-17 use the internet, up from 73% in 2000.
  • 51% of teenage internet users say they go online on a daily basis, up from 42% in 2000.
  • 13% of American teenagers — or about 3 million people — still do not use the internet.

What They Do

  • 89% send or read email.
  • 84% go to websites about movies, TV shows, music groups, or sports stars they are interested in.
  • 81% play online games.
  • 76% go online to get news or information about current events.
  • 75% send or receive instant messages.
  • 57% go online to get information about a college, university, or other school they are thinking about attending.
  • 55% look for news or information about politics and the presidential campaign.
  • 43% buy things online, such as books, clothing, or music.
  • 38% send or receive text messages using a cell phone.
  • 31% look for health, dieting, or physical fitness information online.
  • 30% look for information about a job online.
  • 26% look for religious or spiritual information online.
  • 22% look for information online about a health topic that’s hard to talk about, like drug use, sex health, or depression.


  • 84% report owning at least one personal media device: a desktop or laptop computer, a cell phone or a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).
  • 44% say they have two or more devices.
  • 16% report that they do not have any of these devices at all.
  • 12% have three.
  • 2% report having all four of those types of devices.

Preferred Communication

  • 51% of online teens usually choose the landline telephone when they want to talk with friends.
  • 24% said they will most often use instant messaging.
  • 12% prefer to call friends on their cell phone. (45% of teens own a cell phone.)
  • 5% use email most often to communicate with friends.
  • 3% prefer to use text messages.

Where They Surf

  • 78% of online teens say they have gone online from school, up from 64% in 2000.
  • 73% of home teen users go online from a computer located in an open family area.
  • 54% of online teens say they have gone online at the library, up from 36% who reported this in 2000.
  • 26% of teens who go online from home do so from a private area like a bedroom.

Posted on November 13, 2006

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