Online behavior patterns are formed early.
Teens and college students seem to have remarkably similar tastes in Websites, based on a first glance at a September 2008 Youth Trends study.
Facebook, Google and Yahoo! rated highly among teen and college student males and females. YouTube was also generally among the top five listed, except among females in college.
But a closer look at the data reveals that while teen girls have a lot in common with college girls, teen boys are not that similar to college boys when it comes to specific sites they favor. The teen boy list only has four sites in common with the college boy list. The teen girl list has six sites in common with the college girl list.
“You could say the sites that girls engage with as teens are less likely to change when they become college students, at least based on this survey,” said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer.
Ms. Williamson noted that even though site names and rankings differed, teens and college students liked similar types of content. For girls, the commonalities were social sites, search, gossip, portals and shopping. For boys the common site types were video, social, search, portals and sports. Notably, boys’ interest in gaming sites seemed to drop off completely once they reached college.
“Combining all the above, you could say that teen girls/college girls and teen boys/college boys share similarities in the types of content each gender prefers online, but that girls may form attachments to specific sites earlier than boys,” she concluded.
A wide range of online and mobile activities—except e-mail—are vastly more popular among young people than older generations. According to a study by e-mail marketing firm ExactTarget and the Ball State University Center for Media Design, 77% of Internet and mobile phone users ages 15 to 17 use instant messaging, 76% use social networking sites and 70% communicate via text messaging.