Tween Social Networking and Other Media Trends

The New York Times recently ran a short article called Preferring the Web Over Watching TV which cited a few stats regarding TV and web habits of 10 to 14 year olds. The article was based on a study conducted by DoubleClick Performics. In the article it stated:

  • 83% of children ages 10 to 14 spent an hour or more a day using the Internet
  • 68% of children ages 10 to 14 spent an hour or more a day watching television
  • 72% of the children online have at least one social networking profile on a site like MySpace
  • 60% of this online group said they never or rarely read blogs (Don’t latch onto this stat. Read more below.)

I thought these stats were great to find, but I wanted more. Much more. So I started searching online for any additional information about this DoubleClick Performics report. While I didn’t find the full report, I did find this gem of a release many weeks earlier called New Data Shows the Tween Scene is Online written by Stuart Larkins, VP of Search Operations at DoubleClick Performics. The article was posted on a site called Chief Marketer. This report appears to have been written from data gathered in an online survey of more than 1,000 tweens in the 10 to 14 age group. In this post the following additional stats could be found:

  • Almost 50% of this group go online more than three times a day with each visit lasting at least a half an hour.
  • 29% of children ages 10 to 14 spent an hour or more a day listening to radio
  • 10% of children ages 10 to 14 spent an hour or more a day reading newspapers
  • 5% of children ages 10 to 14 spent an hour or more a day reading magazines

As it relates to social networking for this demographic, the article states:

  • 54% have a profile on MySpace
  • 35% have a profile on Facebook
  • 45% have a profile on some other social networking site
  • 64% visit social networking sites at least once per day
  • 34% spend four or more hours a week on social networking sites

In terms of this demographic reading blogs:

  • 8% frequently read blogs
  • 31% occasionally read blogs
  • 40% rarely read blogs
  • 20% never read blogs

What I find interesting about these stats in terms of this demographic having a MySpace or Facebook account is that both online services state in their Terms of Use (Myspace, Facebook) that users must be at least 13 years of age or older to use the site. Since the publicly available information from this report is not broken out by individual age, you have to wonder:

a.) What percentage of kids ages 10 to 12 report using MySpace and Facebook?

b.) Should we assume that the majority of these social networking statistics only apply to 13 and 14 year olds?

c.) Could it be possible that kids in the 10 to 14 demographic are over reporting their actual use of these sites because it’s a “cool” thing to say you have a profile on MySpace and Facebook?

Jennifer Kotler, AVP of Domestic Research at Sesame Workshop, presented a similar report a couple of months ago at the Joan Ganz Cooney Symposium and the Kid Power Xchange conference, but with a focus on 6 to 9 year olds. I’ll share more on her findings in a future post.

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