Canadian Teens Less Internet Savvy Than Adults

March 5, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Media & Entertainment | Videogames | Youth & Gen X

In Canada, teens (13-17) are actually online less adults – 13 hours per week as opposed to 19 hours – and their comfort level with technology is much lower than that of adults, Ipsos Reid?finds when comparing a study of older?adults (pdf) with?a?study of teens.

Some factors, according to the study, that might account for the relatively little time teens spend on online:

  • Parents influence teens’ internet use?- over half (54%) of respondents said their parents place time limits or curfews on their internet time.
  • The internet is of less importance – only 37% agree that using the internet is an important part of their day (compared with 51% of adults).


However, older teens (18-21) do rank the internet high in importance for some activities:

  • Contacting someone they have lost touch with (77% have done so; 46% of adults say they have done this)
  • participating in live, online chat (68% have done this, compared with 38% of adults)
  • visiting/browsing an online social network/community (52% have done this; 36% of adults have done so)

Online Socialization

Online socialization is the most important use of the internet for teens, the survey found:


  • Some 88% of teens have participated in an online social activity (compared with 70% of adults).
  • 61% of teens say the internet is important to their social life.
  • 52% of those who visit online social networks or communities say it is important to their day-to-day life.

Participation in online social networks or communities such as Windows Live Space, YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace is high:

  • 59% visit online social networks or communities a few times a week to daily.
  • Those who are aware of the websites YouTube and Windows Live Space report that they spend a weekly average of five hours and seven hours, respectively, on those sites.

Live online chats are popular:

  • 74% have used instant messaging to communicate with friends or family members.
  • 76% of teens (12-21) participate in chats on a daily or weekly basis.

Other Online Activities

When they’re not socializing online, teens are…

  • Downloading music from the internet:
    • 64% have downloaded digital music or MP3 files.
    • 30% do this often, from a few times a week to daily (compared with 7% of adults).
  • Gaming – over half of teens play against people they know or complete strangers and visit gaming websites at least a few times a week or more.

Comfort Level with Technology

  • 28% of online teens consider themselves to be very skilled or expert in the use of the internet.
  • 48% identify themselves as being fairly skilled.
  • 24% admit to not being skilled in internet use.

About the survey: More than 1,200 online interviews were completed among Canadian youth aged 12-17. The Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, an online survey of 1,000 web users from its Canadian Internet Panel online and 1,000 interviews via telephone with Canadian adults, were used for points of comparison.

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