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37% of internet users ages 12-17 participate in video chats with others using applications such as Skype, Googletalk or iChat.
Nearly 2 in 5 online teens (37%) say they have video chatted with someone else using applications such as Skype, iChat or Googletalk. Online girls are more likely to report video chatting than boys, with 42% of girls who use the internet saying they have video chatted compared with about a third (33%) of boys. White teens who use the internet are more likely to report video chatting than online Latino teens; 41% of white teens do so, as do 28% of Latino youth. In a similar vein, teen internet users from higher income families are more likely to video chat than lower income teens. Our survey found that 77% of all teens ages 12-17 have cell phones and 97% of cell users (or 75% of all teens) can send and receive texts.
27% of teen internet users record and upload video to the internet; older teens are more likely to record and upload videos.
In our most recent data collection, older teens 14-17 are more likely to record and upload video than their younger counter parts, with 30% of online older teens saying they record and share videos, compared with 21% of 12-13 year olds. Those teens who use social network sites more frequently are also more likely to take and share video – 37% of daily social media users take and post videos, as do 24% of weekly social network users, and 17% of those who visit social sites less often than weekly.
The data also suggest that cell phone ownership (and smartphone ownership) does not relate to teens’ likelihood of recording or uploading videos. Other choices that teens make about their online privacy do not relate to their likelihood of streaming video. The use of social media – from blogging to online social networking to creation of all kinds of digital material – is central to many teenagers’ lives. Some 93% of teens use the internet, and more of them than ever are treating it as a venue for social interaction – a place where they can share creations, tell stories, and interact with others.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004. 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos, up from 33% in 2004. 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments, basically unchanged from 2004 (32%). The percentage of those ages 12-17 who said “yes” to at least one of those five content-creation activities is 64% of online teens, or 59% of all teens. Girls continue to lead the charge as the teen blogosphere grows; 28% of online teens have created a blog, up from 19% in 2004. Some 55% of online teens have profiles on a social network site (SNS) such as Facebook or MySpace and those who have such profiles are much more likely to be bloggers than those who do not have social network profiles. Online boys are avid users of video-sharing websites such as YouTube, and boys are more likely than girls to upload. Fully 57% of online teens say that they watch videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube.
Online teen boys are also twice as likely as online teen girls to post video files (19% vs.
Teen video posters report a similar incidence of receiving comments when they post videos online; nearly three-quarters (72%) of video posters report that they get comments at least sometimes. Comments and online conversation around content aren’t limited to images or videos posted online.
In the midst of the digital media mix, the landline is still a lifeline for teen social life.
Email continues to lose its luster among teens as texting, instant messaging, and social networking sites facilitate more frequent contact with friends. Despite the power that email holds among adults as a major mode of personal and professional communication, it is not a particularly important part of the communication arsenal of today’s teens. As the new nexus of teens’ online experience, online social networks are the focus of widespread concern over the disclosure of personal information online. Over the course of seven years, our research examining teenagers’ use of the internet has repeatedly shown that teens are one of the most wired segments of the American population.
Psychologists have long noted that the teenage years are host to a tumultuous period of identity formation and role development.6 Adolescents are intensely focused on social life during this time, and consequently have been eager and early adopters of internet applications that help them engage with their peers.
MySpace was by no means the first social networking application to come to the fore, but it has been the fastest-growing, and now consistently draws more traffic than almost any other website on the internet. Social networking sites appeal to teens, in part, because they encompass so many of the online tools and entertainment activities that teens know and love.
Social networking sites are by no means the first online application to spark worries among parents.
When asked these questions, teens consistently say that the decisions they make about disclosing personal information on social networks and in offline situations depend heavily on the context of that exchange.
American teenagers continue to lead the trend towards ubiquitous internet connectivity in the U.S.
Looking at a general picture of teen internet adoption, American teens are more wired now than ever before. While teens go online in greater numbers and more frequently than in the past, usage gaps between teens of different socio-economic status persist.
Not only are more teens online, but they are also using the internet more intensely now than in the past. To understand fully how teens use the internet and in particular social networking websites, it is important to explore the circumstances of their home internet use – where the computer is located, what kinds of protective software are used, and what kind of rules a parent has in the household around use of the internet and other media.

More than half of parents with online teens have a filter installed on their computer at home.
Some teens simply professed uncertainty and said they did not know if they had filters at home.
Monitoring software is not as popular as filters, but is still used by 45% of parents with online teens. The other broad category of technical protection for online teens is monitoring software – these are programs that run on the family computer and record where a child goes, what he or she does, and in some cases, record every key stroke that a child makes. Teens are also relatively aware of monitoring software on their home computers, though less aware than they are of filtering. Teens are a bit less accurate than they were with filters when it comes to assessing whether or not there is monitoring software on their home computer. Parents also employ a wide array of non-technical protections and behaviors to protect their teens. Teens in the other, less-monitored third of online teens, explain how knowledge imbalance affects oversight in the home. Teens report that the computer that they use at home is generally found in a public area in the home, like a living room, den or study.
Still, most teens focused on household internet time limits when talking about restrictions on their internet use in our focus groups.
Nearly two-thirds of parents of online teens (65%) say they have household rules about the types of video games their child can play, and 58% of those same parents said they had rules about the amount of time their teen could spend playing video games. Three quarters (75%) of parents of online teens regulate what kinds of television shows their child watches, and 57% of parents of kids who go online say that they have rules about how much time their child can spend watching TV.
Despite all the rules parents impose on internet use, parents still think that the internet is a good thing for their child. Overall, 59% of parents of online teens say that the internet is a positive addition to their children’s lives. One major difference between now and 2006 is that online girls are just as likely these days to upload video as online boys. In that study, the teens were asked about a number of online behaviors and the results for video-oriented activities are reported here. There are no statistically significant differences between online black youth and either white or Latino youth in video chatting. Of online teens from families earning $75,000 or more annually, 46% use video chat, while 32% of online teens from families earning under $50,000 annually use these services. Teens who text are also more likely to use video chatting, with 40% of texting teens chatting compared with 27% of non-texters.
In 2006, online boys were nearly twice as likely as online girls to report uploading video they had taken, with 19% of boys and 10% of girls reporting the activity. Broadly, 31% of social network site users record and upload videos, compared with 10% of teens who do not use social networks. Some 14% of teens who use social network sites stream video, compared with 5% of teen internet users who are not social network users. About 19% of online teens blogged at the end of 2004, and 28% of online teens were bloggers at the end of 2006.
Older online teens, especially older online boys (15-17), are more likely to report watching videos on video sharing sites when compared with younger teens. Nearly nine in ten teens who post photos online (89%) say that people comment at least sometimes on the photos they post. As mentioned above, three-quarters (76%) of teens who use social networks say they comment on blog posts written by others. While 39% say they restrict access to their photos “most of the time,” another 38% report restricting access “only sometimes.” Just 21% of teens who post photos say they “never” restrict access to the images they upload. Just 19% of video posters say they restrict access to their videos “most of the time.” More than one-third of teens who post videos (35%) say they restrict access to their videos “only sometimes,” and 46% say they “never” limit who can watch their videos. Multi-channel teens layer each new communications opportunity on top of pre-existing channels. For the entire population of those ages 12-17, phone conversations and face-to-face meetings are the most frequently chosen ways to communicate with friends outside of school. In our first national survey of teenagers’ internet use in 2000, we found that teens had embraced instant messaging and other online tools to play with and manage their online identities. It has also garnered the majority of public attention paid to online social networking, and sparked widespread concern among parents and lawmakers about the safety of teens who post information about themselves on the site. In our first study of teen internet usage in 2000, well before social networking sites emerged, we reported that 57% of parents were worried that strangers would contact their children online.
It is so compelling to some teens to display big friendship networks and so easy with a click or two to establish online connections that it is possible for teens to have virtual ties to others on social networks whom they have never met in person. Teens whose parents are less educated and have lower incomes are less likely to be online than teens with more affluent and well-educated parents. However, there are still notable numbers of teens, especially those in lower income or single parent households, who report using the internet most often from school, the library, or a friend or relative’s house. For instance, teens who are involved in after school activities such as sports, band, drama club, or church go online with greater frequency than teens who have fewer extracurricular commitments.
More than half of all parents of online teens (53%) say that they have a filter installed on the computer that their child uses at home.
Half (50%) of all online teens who go online from home say that the computer they use at home has a filter that keeps them from going to certain websites.

Another 18% of online teens agreed with their parents when they stated that they did not have filters on their home computer. Overall 6% of online teens were uncertain and actually had filters at home, with another 6% of online teens unsure and living in homes without filters.
A bit under half (45%) of parents of online teens say that they have monitoring software installed on the computer that the teen uses at home. About a third of teens (35%) with internet access at home believe that there is monitoring software on their home computer, and about half (48%) say there is not any monitoring software installed.
Overall, 22% of teens correctly indicated that they have monitoring software on their home computer.
Fully 58% of families with teens ages 12-14 have filters installed compared with 47% of homes with older teens, and 51% of households with younger teens say they use monitoring software, compared with 39% of households with teens ages 15-17. Parents can check the computer to see where a teen has gone online and what they have done. Parents are most likely to report checking up on younger teens (ages 12-14), in particular younger girls. Parents of younger boys were more likely than other groups of parents to say they had rules about what kind of games could be played and for how long.
Regulation of television watching habits is primarily aimed at younger teens, with parents of these teens more likely to report having these rules than parents of older teens.
Still, the percentage of parents who think that the internet is good for their children has decreased a statistically significant amount from 67% in 2004 to 59% in 2006. Similarly, one third (33%) of Facebook users take and share video, compared with 11% of teens who do not use Facebook. Similarly, 15% of Facebook users say they stream video, compared with 6% of teens who do not use Facebook.
Overall, girls dominate the teen blogosphere; 35% of all online teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online teen boys.
And, in keeping with the conversational nature of social media, social networking teens are also interacting with others’ blogs.
Not even older girls – a highly-wired and active segment of the teen population – can compete with boys in this instance; 21% of older boys post videos, while just 10% of older girls do so. Another quarter (24%) say that people comment on their online videos “most of the time.” A similar number (27%) say that they “never” get comments on posted videos. Online adults are more lax in restricting access to their online photos; 34% restrict access most of the time, 24% some of the time, and 39% say they never restrict access to online photos. But multi-channel teens – those teens who use the internet, instant messaging, text messaging a cell phone, and social networking sites – are more likely to turn to cell phones and digital media when communicating with friends. In our second major study of teens in 2004, we noted that teenagers had taken to blogging and a wide array of content creation activities at a much higher rate than adults.
At that time, close to 60% of teens had received an instant message or email from a stranger and 50% of teens who were using online communication tools said they had exchanged emails or instant messages with someone they had never met in person. After completing the six in-person focus groups, a 7th online, mixed gender high school-age focus group was also conducted. Of teens whose parents have college educations, 98% are online while only 82% of teens whose parents have less than a high school education are online. A bit more than a third of teens (37%) say that their home computer is not filtered, and another 13% say they do not know if the computer has a filter or not. Monitoring software seems to be used most in homes with younger teen boys, while filters are used in the homes of younger teens regardless of gender. Seven in ten parents of younger teens checked up on their online behaviors, compared with 61% of parents of older teens. It is also important to note that fewer teens play games than go online, which may be reflected in the lower percentage of parents with rules about games.
Seven in ten (70%) social networking teens report reading the blogs of others, and three in four social networking teens (76%) have posted comments to a friend’s blog on a social networking site. These multi-channel teens are super communicators who will use any tool at their disposal, but cell phones, instant messaging applications, and social networking channels rank higher in the panoply of their communications choices when compared with landline and face-to-face communication outside of school.
Teens who adopted these tools were no longer only communicating with text, but they were also developing a fluency in expressing themselves through multiple types of digital media – including photos, music and video. On social network sites, this kind of information is now posted online — sometimes in full public view. Parents can establish family computer and internet use rules, including what websites may or may not be visited, what types of personal information may be shared online with others and how much time a child may spend online.
These numbers are remarkably similar to the findings in our 2004 and 2000 surveys, where 73% of teens and 70% of teens, respectively, reported that their computer was in a public location in the home.
Virtually all of the growth in teen blogging between 2004 and 2006 is due to the increased activity of girls.
But in other cases, disclosure reaches a level that is troubling for parents and those concerned about the safety of online teens.

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