As the parent of a teenager you probably know your kid spends a lot of time online, but you might not be sure what she's doing there. Leading search engine Google has conducted research into the online behavior of teens and young adults. According to Google, the Internet is where teenagers go for information.
As of the date of publication, Google's dominance of the Internet search business is so complete that searching for information is widely referred to as "Googling." In 2012, Google and Ipsos MediaCT conducted a research study to find out what teens were doing online. The study found that teenagers use the Internet to find out about information about what they are interested in. Eighty-two percent of teenagers and young adults relied on the Internet for information, spending an average of 15 hours a week online. When your teenager is using the Internet, there's a good chance he's Googling something.
According to a 2009-2011 study by Pew Internet, 95 percent of U.S. teens spend time online. Eighty percent of them use the Internet for social networking, but 62 percent look up information about political issues or news stories. The Google study found that 56 percent of teens were involved in political or social issues such as bullying prevention, gay rights, animal rights or environmentalism, while 62 percent expressed an interest in getting involved in an issue even if they were not currently involved. This result might be surprising, but both studies indicate that many teens use the Internet to find out more about causes and political issues that interest them.
Many teens also use the Internet to search for information about issues that affect them personally. According to Pew Internet, 31 percent of teens search online for information about dieting and staying healthy. Seventeen percent search for information on topics they might find it hard to discuss in person with an adult, such as drugs, sex or depression. According to a 2013 study by the Center for Media Research, 83 percent of teens search for events they might want to go to, such as shows or concerts. Seventy-four percent say they go online to look up public transportation schedules and 92 percent say they use the Internet to look up anything they would like to know more about.
The Center for Media Research study found that only 35 percent of teens make online purchases, but 74 percent use the Internet to window shop for products they might like to buy at some point. The top Internet shopping searches by teens in this study were for music, video games, clothing, shoes and books. According to Google, teens often go online to search for something after hearing about it through word of mouth. The next time your teen asks you to help her buy something, she may well have heard about it from a friend and then researched it with a Google search before asking you for the money.