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Teens Drop Buddies, Pick Up Social Networks

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Emoticons are so 2003, according to a report released by Nielsen//NetRatings.

Over the last three years, the top sites among teens 12-17 have switched from those offering instant messaging buddy icons to those sites offering assistance with social networking profiles and page layouts.

In September 2003, says Nielsen, the number one site among teenagers was Originalicons.com, with teens comprising 77.6 percent of its audience, followed by Buddy4u.com and Badass Buddy.

In September of this year however, sites offering tools to improve social networking profiles with song lyrics, pictures, quotes, and layout designs became the top teen destinations.

Nielsen says Plyrics.com ranked number one among teens, whose audience consists of 68.4 percent of those aged 12-17.

Next was Snapvine, offering a voice player for social networking sites, followed by WhateverLife.com.

These two sites had audiences of 67.6 percent and 60.6 percent teenagers respectively. Nine out of the top ten teen sites offered either content or tools for social networking profiles.

“It is not a surprise that teens are actively engaged in social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube,” said Ken Cassar, chief analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “What is surprising, however, is the extent to which a wide array of supporting Web sites has developed in conjunction with these bigger, more well-known Web destinations. MySpace and YouTube have spawned a vibrant online ecosystem.”

In September 2003, kids between the ages of 2 and 11 spent an average of six hours and 39 minutes online.

That has increased three years later by 41 percent to nearly 9 hours and 24 minutes. Teens more than double that time. In 2003, teenagers spent over 21 hours online. In 2006, they spend 26 hours.

“The Internet is as much a part of children’s lives as TV, school and books,” said Cassar. “It provides entertainment, social interaction and educational opportunities. We can expect the time kids spend online to increase along with expanded offerings on the Web and the growing network of their friends and family who use the Web frequently.”

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Teens Drop Buddies, Pick Up Social Networks
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