I have noticed that there is a huge spectrum of teens online. There are literally thousands of articles that have been written in the past four years about teens online (I have written some of them!) but they refer to teens online all the same. This is simply not true, there are many different kinds of ‘users.’
Teen Internet User 1: Centers
These are the heaviest users. They live and breathe online. They sneak internet in the middle of the night and are on every social network imaginable. They also want all the latest trends and new gadgets. Taking away their phones or computers is the worse possible punishment. They are the ultimate techies and love to write their own Java and HTML.
Teen Internet User 2: Networkers
These users do not visit anything but the social networks. They do not care to discover new sites or learn programming. All they want to do is chat, share and network with friends. They are the first to discover any changes on MySpace and have started 36+ groups on Facebook.
Teen Internet User 3: Communicator
These teens do visit social networking sites occasionally but only as a means of communicating. They live on IM. Video chat, IM and emails are where they spend the most time.
Teen Internet User 4: Seeker
These teens tend not to be as social and like to discover online. Unlike the Centers, when they discover something new they do not spread it around to all of their friends (maybe a select few), but they like to find new websites and participate in more of the underground internet. They are the tech insulars and only want websites that are grassroots and authentic.
Teen Internet User 5: Listener
Some teens seem to use the Internet exclusively to find, follow and research music and new bands. They are usually addicted to MySpace and cruise the web with their earphones in.
Teen Internet User 6: Schooler
These teens have little interest in the Internet besides what is necessary for school. If they chat it is not much, their friend set-up their Facebook profile for them and they are not overly impressed with anything online except maybe the occasional YouTube video.
Teen Internet User 7: Gamer
Gamers, quite obviously are avid Internet players. They play World of Warcraft until 3am (or they would if you would let them) love games on miniclip.com and addictinggames.com. They asked for a joystick for Christmas.
Teen Internet User 8: Watcher
Some teens love to watch webisodes, YouTube surf or TV shows online. They get all of their entertainment through your broadband cable and often reject traditional TV.
Teen Internet User 9: Expresser
These teens keep online diaries, write poetry for ezines and might even have their own blog. They love posting comments on other blogs and writing articles to submit for larger online publications. The Internet is their voice.
Teen Internet User 10: Informer
These teens use the Internet to stay current. They read newspapers, comment in political forums and have impressive RSS feeds of lots of online resources. Yes, teens can be a combination of a few of these, or dabble in a little bit of gaming but are really Networkers (or they game to network via World of Warcraft chatting.) What kind of teen do you have?