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Myth vs. Reality of Teens and Technology

How much do you really know about your teen’s use of technology? Based upon recent research published by Nielsen, take this true or false quiz to see how knowledgeable you are about your kids’ technological lives.

1. Teens text more than any other age group.

 True. Teens send an average of 111 text messages per day. That is twice the rate of the next highest group, 18-24 year olds. This represents a 566% increase in the past two years, with 77% of teens owning their own mobile phone.

 2.      TV viewing is decreasing among teenagers.

False. Teens watch an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes of TV every day. While their TV viewing is low in comparison with other age groups, it has increased 6% over the past five years.

3. Teens watch more TV than kids in any other country.

False. American teens actually watch less TV than kids in other countries where Nielsen is able to electronically monitor TV usage. South African kids watch over 5 hours of TV per day, while teenagers in Taiwan watch only 2 hours and 47 minutes.

4.      Teens multitask much more frequently than adults, using several media (e.g., TV, texting, gaming) simultaneously.

False. Teens simultaneously use two or more media about 23% of the time which is less frequently than adults, who do so 31% of the time.

5.      Other than seniors, teens talk less on the phone than any other group.

True. Teens talk an average of 17 minutes per day on the phone.

6.      Teens are frequent users of social network sites.

True. Seventy-nine percent of teens visit blogs or connect via social networks. This has become the way many teens reach each other and chat about their lives.

7.      Teens use of the internet less than most age groups.

True. Teens spend about 11½ hours on line every month, much less than the average of 29 hours and 15 minutes.

8.      Teens rarely read newspapers.

False. One in four teens reads a newspaper daily.

9.      Teens media interests are dramatically different from that of their parents.

False. Neilson reports more similarities than differences between kids and parents, with American Idol being teens’ top show, Google being the preferred website, and dramas being the most popular category of shows. All of these preferences are similar to those of adults.

Advertisers in the teen market focus on food and entertainment.

False. Advertisers focus on clothes and beauty products.

What does this all mean? Our kids are mostly like us, with two big exceptions. They communicate by texting and connect via Facebook. Rather than lament these changes, we need to educate ourselves about our kids’ technological lives so we can help them use technology in a safe, responsible, and fun manner.

 (7-31-2011)

Next Week: Questions from Readers

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