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Teens on Social Networks

Making friends is important, but the experience not always positive.

April 16, 2009 | Demographics | Social Media

Young people are going online more than ever before, and many are using social networks.

eMarketer estimates that in 2009, 15.5 million US Internet users ages 12 to 17, or 75%, will use social networks.

US Teen Online Social Network Users, 2008-2013 (millions and % of teen Internet users)

In 2013, that number will jump to 17.9 million, or 79% of all online teens.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, US teens mostly went to social networking sites in 2008 to interact with friends. That includes activities such as staying in touch, making plans, finding new friends and flirting.

Ways in Which US Adult and Teen Internet Users Use Social Networks, May 2008* (% of respondents)

A poll of “technology embracing” youth ages 12 to 24 from the US, UK, Germany, Japan and India conducted by OTX Research hints at how young people are staying in touch.

The average number of friends respondents had on a social networking site was 99, 43 of whom were seen regularly. An average of 33 were never seen in person. Sixty percent of respondents said they liked making new friends online, and 7% said they were making lots of friends.

But the experience is not always positive.

Specifically, information on young people’s social network pages can come back to haunt them.

Over 60% of those surveyed acknowledged that the things friends wrote in their profiles could harm their careers. In addition, 48% said they could be embarrassed by what they themselves wrote, and 38% said they regretted some of the items that had appeared on their pages already.

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