Percent of Teens Producing Digital Content is Up

Just in from the PEW Internet and American Life Project, more teens are producing digital content.  I’m commenting on the front page summary in this article.  You can download the entire PDF report here.

Pew Internet: Teens and Social Media:

Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.

I’m going to have to change one of my presentation slides to reflect this.  It’s still a controversial and controvertible, especially as I compare it to their teachers digital content creation.  I think that the point remains, however, that many of our students are, in some ways, more literate than many/most of their teachers.

Graph of Girls and Boys Production of Digital Content
I made this graph from the data using Excel…

Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys, however, do dominate one area – posting of video content online. Online teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online somewhere where someone else could see it.

Hmmm!  I’m not even going to try to comment on this, except to say that of the three, my son makes videos, and my daughter uploads digital photos to her Facebook profile.

The survey found that content creation is not just about sharing creative output; it is also about participating in conversations fueled by that content. Nearly half (47%) of online teens have posted photos where others can see them, and 89% of those teens who post photos say that people comment on the images at least “some of the time.”

It could be that this is the tendency that has the most potential to us, as educators — that teens use their digital media as a point of conversation.  Of course the wording isn’t earth shattering (people comment on the images at least “some of the time.”), but this all shows a need, among many of our teenage students, to invest themselves in expressing their experience with information.

However, many teen content creators do not simply plaster their creative endeavors on the Web for anyone to view; many teens limit access to content that they share.

This is one thing that I hear from most teens I talk with about their social networks.  They are private/careful to some degree.  But again, we don’t know how much of that is true or how much of it comes from our training them to say what they think we want to hear.

There is a subset of teens who are super-communicators — teens who have a host of technology options for dealing with family and friends, including traditional landline phones, cell phones, texting, social network sites, instant messaging, and email. They represent about 28% of the entire teen population and they are more likely to be older girls.

28% is not an insignificant number.  Consider that as information and communication technologies continue to evolve, the activities of this quarter of the teen population will likely define a larger portion of what they all will be doing in their social and work lives ahead.

What do you think?

Lenhart, Amanda, Mary Madden, Alexandra Rankin Macgill, and Aaron Smith. “Teens and Social Media.” PEW Internet & American Lif Project. 19 Dec 2007. Pew Charitable Trusts. 20 Dec 2007 <>.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.