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Internet plays a major role in the lives of US teens

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–About 73% of U.S. teenagers use the Internet and they say it plays a significant role in their relationships with family and friends. They also habitually multi-task, performing several Internet activities simultaneously.

These findings are part of a new study of teenage life online, released this month by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The study concentrated on Americans in the 12-17-year old bracket.

One teenager responded to the survey saying, “I get bored if it’s not all going at once because everything has gaps — waiting for someone to respond to an IM (instant message), waiting for a Web site to come up, commercials on TV, etc.”

The study shows that most teenagers use instant messaging, although it has not replaced the phone as their primary means of communication.

The Internet is changing the way teens interact with their friends, the study reveals. For instance, 37% of the respondents say they have used instant messaging to write something they would not have said in person.

Many teens say they manage and play with their online identities and about half admit that they’ve exchanged e-mail or instant messages with strangers.

Ironically, 61% of the parents polled said they have rules about the Internet in their home, yet only 37% of the teens reported they were subject to such rules.

The full 46-page report is available for free online at http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/pdfs/PIP_Teens_Report.pdf

    About the Author

  • Jon Walker