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Teens More Normal Than You Think Regarding Media Usage

2 minute read | June 2009

It’s 2009: Do you know where your kids are?

They might be on the Internet, or gaming or texting… but they could also be be watching live TV, listening to the radio or reading a newspaper. At the annual What Teens Want conference in New York, The Nielsen Company presented How Teens Use Media, which argues once you look past the hype – American teens are not as alien in their media usage as you might expect. Sure, it might sound hip and trendy to suggest they’re too busy texting, Twittering or LOL-ing to be engaged with traditional media, but ultimately, the research proves otherwise.

“The media experience is broadening for all consumers, not just teens,” said Nic Covey, director of insights for The Nielsen Company. “Looking at our research across markets and media, we see that, contrary to popular assumption, teens are actually pretty normal in their usage, and more attentive than most give them credit for.”

The comprehensive report combines insights from Nielsen’s global resources in Television, internet, mobile, gaming, moviegoing, radio, newspaper and advertising research to debunk myths and provide the hard facts around how teens use media.

Key Takeaways

  • Teens are NOT abandoning TV for new media: In fact, they watch more TV than ever, up 6% over the past five years in the U.S.
  • Teens love the Internet … but spend far less time browsing than adults: Teens spend 11 hours and 32 minutes per month online. Far below the average of 29 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Teens watch less online video than most adults, but the ads are highly engaging to them: Teens spend 35% less time watching online video than adults 25-34, but recall ads better when watching TV shows online than they do on television.
  • Teens read newspapers, listen to the radio and even like advertising more than most: Teens who recall TV ads are 44% more likely to say they liked the ad.
  • Teens play video games, but their tastes aren’t all for the blood-and-guts style games: Just two of their top five most-anticipated games since 2005 have been rated “Mature.”
  • Teens’ favorite TV shows, top websites and genre preferences across media are mostly the same as their parents: For U.S. teens, American Idol was the top show in 2008, Google the top website and general dramas are a preferred TV genre for teens around the world.

For additional insights, download a free copy of How Teens Use Media

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