Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nielsen: Teens Spend Barely a Third as Much Time Online as Adults

Ben Patterson: The Gadget Hound, Yahoo Tech

Worried that the youth of America is wasting away in front of a computer screen? Well, consider this: according to a new survey, U.S. adults actually spend way more time surfing than teenagers do.In a report titled "How Teens Use Media," Nielsen found that the average teen (ages 12-17, for the purposes of the survey) spends about 11 hours, 32 minutes a month online, versus about 29 hours for the average American, or a whopping 42 hours, 35 minutes for adults aged 35-44.

Now, I'd imagine we could chalk up much of the difference to the fact that many working adults have a broadband-connected PC sitting on their desk, whereas teens are often busy going to school, hitting the mall, going to band practice, or tapping out texts. Lots of texts. (More on that in a second.)

But even as time spent online tapers off as the average American gets older, folks aged 65 and older are still surfing an average of 28 hours, 34 minutes each month, nearly triple the amount of time spent by teens, according to Nielsen.

Teens are also watching less online video than most adults, Nielsen claims, with kids aged 12-17 streaming a little more than three hours of online video a month. Compare that to about five-and-a-half hours a month for young adults between 18 and 24, or four hours, 44 minutes for grown-ups aged 25-34.

Then again, maybe part of the reason teens spend so little time online (well, on average, anyway) is that they're so mobile—and by mobile, I mean cell phones. The Nielsen survey found that 77 percent of teens have their own cell phone, and that they're sending and/or receiving an impressive 96 SMS messages a day, or nearly 2,900 a month—a figure that's nearly double the average from early 2008. Amazing.

Meanwhile, the average numbers of call that teens make or receive each month has actually dipped to 191, compared to 286 in mid-2007, Nielsen says.

A few other interesting teen statistics from the Nielsen report: They're watching an average of three hours, 20 minutes of TV a day, they get a 25-minute daily dose of console gaming, and (in a bit of good news for print publishers) one in four reads the newspaper.

So, teens: About how long do you spend online each day? Use your phone more than your PC? Ever have to remind your parents to shut down the browser and, like, go outside or something?

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