Friday, July 27, 2007

New study about youth and tech assumptions

Andy has again ferreted out more interesting stuff. This time it's a new global study from MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft about how kids and young people interact with digital technology. The study "challenges traditional assumptions about their relationships with digital technology, and examines the impact of culture, age and gender on technology use."

The press release is a good summation...if anyone can find a link to the real study, post it in the comments. Here are the highlights of the study, from the press release:
     -- Technology has enabled young people to have more and closer
friendships thanks to constant connectivity.
-- Friends influence each other as much as marketers do. Friends are as
important as brands.
-- Kids and young people don't love the technology itself -- they just
love how it enables them to communicate all the time, express
themselves and be entertained.
-- Digital communications such as IM, email, social networking sites and
mobile/sms are complementary to, not competitive with, TV. TV is part
of young peoples' digital conversation.
-- Despite the remarkable advances in communication technology, kid and
youth culture looks surprisingly familiar, with almost all young
people using technology to enhance rather than replace face-to-face
interaction.
-- Globally, the number of friends that young males have more than
doubles between the ages of 13-14 and 14-17 -- it jumps from 24 to 69.
-- The age group and gender that claims the largest number of friends are
not girls aged 14-17, but boys aged 18-21, who have on average 70
friends.
Also, Microsoft has pulled out a few verbatim quotations on the study.

There were also really interesting global differences noted. One that stuck out for me was China. Because of the one-child rule in China, many kids reach out to online friends for companionship much more than in other countries where they may have siblings at home. It's such an interesting mix of culture, social norms, tech and gender!

If you remember our Symposium from ALA MW 2007 (scroll down), some of the privacy/parental controls situations that danah boyd described are now evident in the research.

2 comments:

Janet said...

"Friends are as important as brands"

Ahem. Cough. Sigh.

Alice said...

True enough, Janet. Although with my brand marketing hat on, it's a great opportunity. I guess it means we marketers must be even more careful and responsible with the brands geared for children or YA.

Over the top cliche, but it reminds me of Uncle Ben's saying to Peter Parker: "With great power, comes great responsibility."