Internet Frequency: Teens Trump Tweens, Girls Beat Boys
American kids are using the internet for different reasons and at different rates, with age and gender being the key differentiators.
KidSay’s 2013 Year-End Trend Tracker tells us that more than half (52%) of America’s kids ages 8-15 report using the internet ‘many times a day’. But, as you know, the kids’ market is not a monolith. Age and gender preferences create distinct sub-groups of kids. Let’s see how those variables impact internet usage.
A third of tween boys (33%) and 39% of tween girls report using the internet ‘many times a day’. As tweens become teens (12-15 years old) those numbers increase substantially. For teen boys the number almost doubles (up to 64%) while for teen girls it increases sharply, rising to 71%.
Why the Web? Tweens Love Games
Tween boys and girls (8-11 years old) use the internet primarily for entertainment. When asked, “What do you most often do on the internet?” tween boys and girls had the same top three reasons including: #1- play games (boys 48%, girls 34%), #2 – watch videos (boys and girls both 25%) and #3 – do schoolwork (boys 12%, girls 17%).
Why the Web? Teens Love Each Other
As kids get older the internet becomes less of a device for play and more an instrument for social connection. We know the social-emotional reasons for this. When kids enter middle school and high school, the importance of developing a social life increases. The internet is a tool that helps them do that. Evidence of the internet being used as a social development tool can be found in the “what” for which they use it.
For teen boys, the #1 use of the internet is to watch videos (30%), followed closely with 28% whose primary use of the web is for social networking. Look for new consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4 to increase the ‘playing games – social networking’ connection for boys, as inherent to these platforms is interacting with others while playing.
Teen girls, who place greater importance on interpersonal connection than boys do, primarily use the internet for social networking (#1- 42%). This is true despite the fact that the popularity of the company most associated with social networking, Facebook, has dropped precipitously with teen girls. Once the #1 favorite website of 69% (2011 June/July Trend Tracker) of teen girls, now only 15% of teen girls rank it as their favorite website.
What have they done lately?
The thing they ‘most often do’ is but one of the many things kids are using the internet for. The Top 5 things America’s kids report that they did on the internet ‘within the last week’ are:
- watched a video – 58%
- done schoolwork – 55%
- listened to music – 53%
- played games – 51%
- used a social network – 44%
Check KidSay’s Year End Trend Tracker for how these activities are effected by both age and gender.