Today’s American teens live in a world enveloped by communications technologies; the internet and cell phones have become a central force that fuels the rhythm of daily life.
The number of teenagers using the internet has grown 24% in the past four years and 87% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 are online. Compared to four years ago, teens’ use of the internet has intensified and broadened as they log on more often and do more things when they are online.
In focus groups, teens described their new environment. To them, email is increasingly seen as a tool for communicating with “adults” such as teachers, institutions like schools, and as a way to convey lengthy and detailed information to large groups. Meanwhile, IM is used for everyday conversations with multiple friends that range from casual to more serious and private exchanges.