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New Pew study finds teens comfortable v-chatting and sharing video

May 3, 2012 | 10:36 am

That stereotypical image of the American teenager glued to the phone needs an update.

A new study from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 37% of Internet users ages 12 to 17 participate in video chats using such applications as Skype, Googletalk or iChat -- and girls are more likely to engage in v-chats than boys.

"As more and more devices in our lives have video capabilities -- as laptops and computers come with built-in video cameras, and many smart phones have cameras that allow for video chatting, for taking videos -- teens are taking advantage of that," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist with Pew Research Center.

Lenhart said teens enjoy socializing with friends and family -- and video adds another dimension to these interactions. Teens whose families earned $75,000 or more annually were more likely to use video chat, as were those who frequently send text messages, use the Internet and access social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the study found.

More than one in four Internet users in this age group records and uploads video to the Web, according to the study. Unlike six years ago, females are just as likely to share videos as males.

The study also revealed something parents might find surprising: 13% of Internet-using teens stream video live for other people to watch online.

"We don't know anything about the content of what's being served," Lenhart said. "It's important not to necessarily go straight to the negative. ... It could be live-streaming an event, or a video blogger live-blogging your experience."

The findings were culled from a survey of 799 teens conducted between April 19 and July 14, 2011, in which the subjects were queried about a number of online behaviors.


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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski