Teens and the Internet – “totally wired”

Goodstein (2007) refers to today’s teens as totally wired in their daily lives. This means that the continually leave one form of media to go to another to complete everyday tasks. Other researchers in the field of teens and social media have expressed the same sentiment. A PEW Internet & American Life Project survey from 2008 found that 93% of teens (ages 12-17) use the internet, 71% own cell phones and 62% use the Internet daily. (Lenhart, 2009) According to more recent figures from the PEW Internet & American Life Project (November 2011), 95% of all American teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites. (Lenhart,Madden, Smith, Purcell, Zickuhr, Rainie, K., 2011)

Moreover, today’s youth do not see the Internet as separate from traditional socialization and interactions, but as common as face-to-face talking (Shariff, 2008).

Is it only teens? Internet use among young children
  • Among very young children (0 to 5) who use the Internet, about 80% do so at least once a week.
  • At age 3, about one-quarter of children go online daily, increasing to about half by age 5. And by age 8, more than two-thirds use the Internet on any given weekday.
  • Children ages 5 to 9 average about 28 minutes online daily.
  • In 2009, children aged 8 to 10 spent about 46 minutes on a computer every day. This is more than double the amount of time 8-to-10-year olds spent online in 2006 (19 minutes)
  • (Gutnick, Kotler, Robb, Takeuchi, 2011).

Are they addicted?
A recent study of high school students in Connecticut found that one in every 25 teens had "problematic Internet use". Moreover, those students who reported an "irresistible urge" to be on the Internet and tension when they weren't online were more likely to be depressed and aggressive and to use drugs than their peers. (Liu , Desai, Krishnan-Sarin, Cavallo, Potenza, 2011)

Kids access the Internet from any device!
The following table shows the percentage of US teens who accessed Facebook in 2010. Note that 73% of US teens accessed their Facebook account at least once a month FROM ANY DEVICE! And the numbers are rising.

Source: (March, 2011)


Goodstein, A. (2007). Totally wired: What teens and tweens are really doing online. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin

Gutnick A, Kotler J, Robb M, Takeuchi L. (2011). , Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Lenhart, A. (2009). “Teens and Sexting”, A Pew Internet & American Life Project Report, Retrieved July 4, 2010 from

Lenhart, A.,Madden, M., Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L.(2011). Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites, Nov 9, 2011

Liu TC, Desai RA, Krishnan-Sarin S, Cavallo DA, Potenza MN, (2011). Problematic Internet use and health in adolescents: data from a high school survey in Connecticut. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, J Clin Psychiatry 2011 Jun; 72(6):836-45.

Shariff, S. (2008). Cyberbullying: Issues and solutions for the school, the classroom and the home. New York: Routledge.

Tags: Teens, internet, research

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