Posted June 17, 2008 3:38 pm by with 20 comments

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Who knew? A study by OTX finds that on average teens (aged 13-17) spend 11.5 hours online a week (yep, not a day . . . no comment on how many hours I spend online a day. . . .). Nearly a quarter of teens spend over 15 hours online per week, while 45% spent eight hours or less online.

The study also looked at what teens did online. 58% have made a purchase online (though it doesn’t say whether the study made it clear that iTunes counts 😉 ):

On average teens who make purchases online are spending $46 per month, and 26% of teens are spending $50 or more. Clothes and music [only 41%? Again, iTunes counts, folks!] are the two most popular online purchases, followed by books, electronics and DVDs. . . .

Teens with their primary computer in their bedrooms are more likely to be heavy internet users (15+ hours per week) and spend money online.

Hm…. I wonder why….

My favorite part of the study was the series of “Would you rather” questions. According to OTX, more teenagers would rather:

  • Have a lot of “real friends” (91%) versus a lot of “online friends”
  • Date someone they know from school (87%) someone they met on the Internet
  • Shop in a store (82%) versus online
  • Watch a full length program on TV (81%) versus online
  • Give up television (74%) versus the Internet for a week
  • Get information from the Internet (71%) versus traditional media like TV, magazines, or newspapers
  • Give up cell phone texting (71%) versus Internet access (apparently not cell phone Internet access, though this isn’t totally clear)
  • Get their locker vandalized (63%) versus theirpersonal homepage or profile
  • Be limited to a TV antenna for watching TV (63%) versus a dial-up Internet connection
  • IM their friend (54%) versus Calling them

The study also corroborated previous findings on simultaneous media consumption.


  • I have a 13 year old and I’d have to say that all of the above is true! Especially getting tactile information from the internet. He’s much more apt to search online for ways to prove me wrong than to look in an encyclopedia.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Factual information? ‘Cause the Internet I use doesn’t have a ton of tactile feedback (which is why people still like shopping in stores).

  • “58% have made a purchase online”

    Wow thats higher then I thought. Time to target!

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..RE/MAX is the most searched for Real Estate company on the internet.

  • Teenagers are in fact Zombies. I have one at home, and I can prove it. Fortunately, from what I’ve hard it is a condition that disappears with age.

    Top Rated’s last blog post..Absolutely The Best Point And Shoot Digital Camera

  • From what I have experienced its mobile technology that is attracting the teens more then the Internet. Its quick, easy and fast and can be done any were.

  • Great info and seems about right. There’s a stigma that goes with being online “too much”, same with watching “too much” TV. I doubt the polls are as accurate as we might hope because people tend to answer those things based on how they want to appear rather than how they actually are behaving.

    I’m not shocked by the numbers but at least people are admitting they use the net a bit more, that’s a start. Notice that they’d rather IM than call their friends? Interesting… 😉

    They’re buying a lot more than they think to count, I’d wager. After all, many of the online games (such as Xbox Live and WoW) count, as do ringtones and MP3s… they probably just aren’t thinking of it as an “internet purchase” because it’s so heavily integrated into their lives.

    Excellent article, once again!

    Wolf Nibori’s last blog post..History is Not a Clock (Please Rewind)

  • I figured that teenagers spent more time online than the study concluded. I guess it’s b/c I live online.

    Now that I think about it, 15 hours seems like a lot/week for a kid. I wonder how many hours they spend online playing video games via Xbox, Wii, Playstation 3 etc. and how long it’s going to take for some more product placement opportunities to arise in games.

  • It still is a considerable ammount of time if you realize that they also spend time watching TV and on gaming with the Xbox. They definitely spend lesser time outdoors than a generation before them.

    Eva White’s last blog post..Canada’s Apology To The Indian People

  • At the same time it is heartening to know that the real world is preferable to them versus the cyber world in so many cases. I wonder what their reading habits are like?

    Eva White’s last blog post..Canada’s Apology To The Indian People

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  • With these kind of Internet times, teens are certainly not zombies. Unfortunately, these figures tend to present the mean and ignore the extremes, particularly the high user segment. The numbers there are still significant enough to cause worry to parents.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Fashion Industry: Who’s The Most Influential and Powerful

  • Seems to be teenagers don’t like their internet life and want to spend more ours in a places without internet connection.

  • Shocking the amount of teens that prefer to IM instead of call. Thought it would be a much higher number.

    Seologia’s last blog post..Obtené un record Guinness con Mozilla Firefox 3

  • PS3

    “58% have made a purchase online”…..using their parent credit cards…or more likely, ringtone downloads and the like.

    Teenagers are unique creatures. Our 14 year old spends all day with her friends, walks home with them…then can’t wait 5 minutes before getting on the laptop to chat again with the same people on MSN!

    We are fairly strict though and it does cause conflict.

  • Mobile technology is what drives teens more than anything else. The more mobile the web world becomes, the more integrated the teens will be. You can bank on that.

  • Never trust a statistic you have not tampered with yourself. These statistics show the mean value and all those who dont even have their own computer are integrated and the mean value goes down.
    But if we look at only those kids that do have their own computer the statistics may look very different and suddenly there are a lot more internet-zombies (not) running around.

  • I think no matter how old are you, internet and its opportunities capture you. Some people even become internet-addicted. It is time to think over this issue.

  • They can’t just sit so long. When Asus eeepc will be popular figures will change.

    Symbian’s last blog post..Nokia S60 Symbian Windows Live client available in Europe

  • PS3

    Why is taht Symbian?

  • Internet really capture us. I spend all my work time in internet and I try to spend my free time in offline.