30% of teenagers spend more than 2 hours a night chatting online

Matthew Warneford

I don’t expect the headline to be a shock to anyone who knows a teenager! And this isn’t another blog deploring the lack of real world interaction, rather, I saw a tweet that reminded me about a small survey exploring instant messaging usage that we conducted among UK children. I thought I’d share a few quick highlights.

Usage Patterns
We found that from 14 on wards instant messaging became an important way to keep in touch with friends after school, with over 90% of respondents chatting at least once a week. Usage peaked at age 15, with over 60% of respondents chatting on IM every day.

Some anecdotal evidence linked the decline in IM usage among older children to an increase in mobile phone usage.

Time Online
As expected, IM usage increased with age, with 40% of teenagers chatting for more than 2 hours a night. Possibly more surprising, 22% of 7-9s also chat for more than 2 hours.

Social Graph
Our survey also found that boys kept in touch with slightly more friends than girls. However, boys we’re significantly more likely to use instant messaging as part of their online gaming activities. We think those online only gaming friend possibly explain why boys have a larger online ‘realtime’ social graph.

The survey was conducted by our research team – who happen run one of the largest youth research panels in the UK! If you’d like to know more about the instant messaging survey or our research team, drop me an email matthew@dubitlimited.com.

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