The Mix

Generation Wired

Nine out of 10 American teens use the internet, but they still prefer face-to-face communication.
Pew Internet and American Life project just released a fascinating study on our technology habits. AlterNet readers have of course known for years that getting news and analysis online is often more efficient, environmentally-friendly, cheaper -- sometimes free (thanks to hard-working fundraisers at AlterNet) -- and allows for a variety of views that the conveyor-belt of mainstream media misses.

Turns out the next generation is geared up to amplify this trend.

A survey released on July 28, by the Pew Project found that nearly nine in 10 teens (87 percent) are Internet users. By comparison, only about 66 percent of adults use the Internet.

Eighty-four percent of teens reported owning at least one communication device, either a desktop or laptop computer, a cell phone or a personal digital assistant.

They are likely to share links, photos, music and video files by instant message. Between IMs, they play games online.

It showed a surge in the size of the wired teen population at seventh grade.

The study also summarized what teens do online: (the percentage of U.S. Internet users, ages 12-17)

84% - Go to Web sites about movies, TV shows, music groups, sports
76% - Go online to get news or information about current events
75% - Send or receive instant messages
57% - Go online to get information about college
22% - Look for information about a health topic that's hard to talk about

And while adults increasingly use e-mail for impersonal communication, which according to the recent Forbes analysis is getting more confrontational and rude every day, teens prefer cell phones, instant messaging and inter-personal communication to connect with their peers. Nearly half have cell phones to keep in touch with home and friends.
Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section.
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