More Teens Create, Share Online Material as ‘Multichannel Teen’ Emerges

December 20, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Media & Entertainment | Youth & Gen X

Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004, according to a  new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Moreover, teens now have available to them a variety of social-communication means, and are using them more – so much so, that a new segment of super-communicators has begun to emerge, Pew said (see “Multichannel Teens” heading, below).

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Fueled by new technologies, websites, and social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, large numbers of teens share and create materials online the study found:

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  • 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online such as artwork, photos stories or videos.
  • 33% of online teens create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including friends, groups they belong to or school assignments.
  • 28% of online teens have created their own blog, up from 19% in 2004 – almost completely driven by the popularity of blogging among girls.
  • 27% of online teens maintain their own webpage.
  • 26% of online teens remix content they find online into their own creations.

Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation:

  • 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys.
  • 54% of wired girls post photos online, compared with 40% of online boys.
  • Boys, however, do dominate one area – posting of video content online: Online teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online somewhere where someone else could see it.

The report, “Teens and Social Media,” is based on a national phone survey of 935 youth ages 12-17 conducted in November 2006.
 
The survey found that content creation is not only about sharing creative output but also about participating in conversations fueled by that content:

  • Nearly half (47%) of online teens have posted photos where others can see them, and 89% of those teens who post photos say that people comment on the images at least “some of the time.”
  • Teens who post videos report a similarly large incidence of feedback, with nearly three quarters (72%) of video posters receiving comments on their videos.

However, many teen content creators do not simply plaster their creative endeavors on the web for anyone to view; many limit access to content that they share:

  • Some 66% of teens with social network profiles restrict access to their profiles in some way.
  • 77% of teens who upload photos restrict access to them at least “some of the time.”
  • In contrast, 58% of adults who post photos restrict access to them in some way.
  • A smaller percentage of teens who upload videos (54%) restrict access to them.

Social network sites affect teens’ lives in other ways beyond providing space for content creation and feedback. For many teens they are now an integral part of the system of communication that they use to conduct the work of their lives. Fully 41% of the teens who use MySpace, Facebook or other social network sites say they send messages to friends via those sites every day.

New Segment: ‘Multichannel Teens’

The Pew Internet report highlights a new segment of “multichannel” teens – super-communicators who have a host of technology options for dealing with family and friends: traditional landline phones, cell phones, texting, social network sites, instant messaging, and email.

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They constitute about 28% of the entire teen population and are more likely to be older girls. They interact with their friends at levels equal to or greater than other teens; and, as with all teens, email is a last resort.

How multichannel teens connect with friends:

  • 70% talk daily with friends on a cell phone.
  • 60% send text messages daily.
  • 54% instant message.
  • 47% send messages daily over social network sites.
  • 46% talk to friends on a landline phone.
  • 35% spend time with friends in person daily.
  • 22% send email every day to friends.

In general, cell phones have a significant impact on communication choices among all teens.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of teens now have a cell phone; for teens who have them, they are the premier communication method for talking with friends. Among teens with cell phones, 55% say they use them to talk with friends every day.

About the study: The Parents & Teens 2006 Survey sponsored by the Pew Internet & American Life Project obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 935 teens age 12 to 17 years old and their parents living in continental United States telephone households. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The interviews were done in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC, from October 23 to November 19, 2006.

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