CommunicationEmail is not popular among teens; in 2011, 54% of teens age 12-17 reported that they never use email at all . Texting is a common communication tool for American teens; among cell phone owners, 90% text . Teen girls age 13-17 typically send and receive 40 texts each day, while boys are half as prolific .
Nearly half of teens use video chat services such as Skype and Facetime .
Social networking sites offer another popular vehicle for communication. Nine out of ten teens age 13-17 use social media platforms, and most (71%) use more than one .
- Facebook continues to be used by teens; 77% of teens age 14-17 have Facebook accounts . The site is somewhat more popular among urban than suburban teens, but it is widely used across all racial/ethnic groups .
- Instagram is used for photo and video sharing by about half of teens, especially older girls (64%) . Older girls are also more likely to use Snapchat (56%) .
- Twitter is far less popular, but its popularity is growing. One-third of all teens age 13-17, and half of girls, now use Twitter .
- Google+ is also used by one-third of teens, and is especially popular among Latino teens (48%) .
Pornography, Flirting, Sexting, and Partner SeekingA nationally representative study conducted in 2005 found that 34% of youth age 10-17 intentionally visit X-rated websites . Boys reported more interest than girls, with 38% of boys age 16-17 seeking out pornography compared to 8% of girls that age . Many youth are exposed to pornography online that they are not seeking. A 2010 study found that 23% of online youth age 10-17 had been exposed to unwanted sexual material .
Teens make new friends online but are less likely to date or hook up with someone they first met online. Flirting or expressing romantic interest is common on social media sites. Most teens who have some dating experience will send flirtatious messages online; teens who have not dated are much less likely to do so. Many dating teens, especially boys, feel more connected to their romantic partner through social media. While most teens say that breaking up by text is socially unacceptable, nearly one in three teens age 13-17 have been told via text that the relationship was over. .
A recent synthesis of research literature found that about 10% of youth age 10-19 engage in "sexting" -- sending sexually explicit messages or images electronically . Among teens age 13-17 who have dating experience, 8% have sent an embarrassing photo of a current or former romantic partner to another person . Distributing sexually explicit images of a minor is illegal, and teens have been prosecuted in some cases. Prosecution is more likely if sexting is related to coercion, bullying, or violence, or if the victim is much younger than the person distributing the photos . Fifteen percent of dating teens have had rumors spread about them online or by phone by current or former partners .
One study of high school students in Southern California found that 5% had used the internet to look for sexual partners, and 17% had been asked online for sex by someone they did not know .
Adolescent girls take the brunt of unwanted online flirting. While 16% of boys age 13-17 have blocked or "unfriended" a person who was making unwanted advances, 35% of girls have done so . Cell phones and social media can facilitate controlling behavior before and after a relationship. Among teens age 13-17 who have dated, 13% have had a partner demand that passwords be shared, 11% have been threatened with harm online or by phone, and 8% have had online posts used against them .
Media and BullyingSome teens use social media (texting, blogs, social networking, etc.) to harass, threaten, or embarrass a peer. Studies on prevalence vary widely; a recent literature review found that prevalence ranged among studies from 7%-35% . On average, 26% of middle and high school students who have participated in studies conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center have been victims, and 16% admit to having been perpetrators at some point in their life . Traditional school bullying is associated with cyberbullying for both victims and perpetrators .
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