When my kids were little, I belonged to a co-op preschool. At the co-op, we had monthly parent education meetings. During these meetings, we shared what was going on with our little ones. I usually left feeling relieved that my child was not the only one who could not write their name and had a few strategies for how to make carrots more interesting.
Often I think back to these meetings, when I give my digital parenting presentations. My favorite part is talking with parents and hearing about what is happening in their house. Most parents are asking the same questions. Is my kid the only one who is on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat? Who are they sharing with on all these sites? Does everyone really have a smartphone? Usually, we discover most of our kids are doing similar things. For better or for worse, we are all in the same boat.
Last week, the Pew Research released Teen, Social Media and Technology Overview which answered some of these same questions. Pew Research asked American teens, ages 13-17, about what technology they used, what social networks they frequented and what they were doing online. As I read through this study, I found it reflected what I am seeing and hearing from parents.
This report is just a snapshot of teen technology use. I am looking forward to reading their future reports which will focus on how teens use social media and mobile phones to create, maintain and end their friendships and romantic relationships. For now, here are a few results from the current study that resonated with me.
Yes. Most of them have phones.
88% of teens have either their own or at least have access to a mobile phone of some kind. For 73% of teens, this mobile phone is a smartphone.
With their new phone, they are going online more.
92% of teens report going online daily and 24% of them say they go online “almost constantly.” Teens with mobile devices go online more frequently. 94% of teens with a mobile device go online at least daily vs. only 68% of teens without a mobile device.
Texting is still king.
90% of teens, with cell phones or smartphones, exchange texts. On average, teens send and receive 30 texts per day. The award for most frequent texters goes to girls ages 15-17 who exchange 50 messages a day.
Teens are communicating in other ways.
Girls dominate social media; boys are more likely to play video games.
Facebook is still the #1 social network but its popularity is waning.
Facebook remains the most used social media site with 71% teens using the site. However, younger teens report using it much less. Less than half (44%) of 13 years olds say they use Facebook, compared to 77% of 14-17-year-olds.
Teens are sharing on more than one social network.
71% of teens report using more than one social network site out of Pew Research’s Top 7. Below are the top 7 sites for teens. I would agree with this ranking except for Google+. Its popularity may stem more from schools using Google for Education.
Although they are on a multiple social networks, teens share with the same people.
57% of teens share with some of the same friends and followers across their social networks. 29% have tight networks composed of the same people on every social site. 4% of teens report absolutely no overlap of friends across the social sites they visit.
Most teens who “knew” reported having only around 150 friends or followers.