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Youth and the Internet

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Growing up in an Internet dominated world (at least for them), a comScore study examines how today’s teenagers and young adults are using online sources and tools to seek out and gather information on medicine and health care. comScore is a leading market research firm for Internet use and behavior and their analysis of U.S. internet users between 12-24 reveals that they made up 22.8% of the the U.S. online population and spent more than 1/4 of their time (26.6%) on social networking sites. That’s 58% above than the average U.S. Internet consumer. Teens between 12-17 spent an even greater share of their time on social networks – nearly 29%, 71% higher than the US average.

Multimedia sites attracted the second-highest amount of U.S. teen and young adults’ online time. An eighth (12.5%) of 12-24-year olds’ online time was spent on multimedia sites, while the corresponding statistic for 12-17-year olds was 15%.

Google owned websites attracted the highest amount of 12-24-year olds’ online activity, reaching 90% of the demographic and accounting for 16.3% of total online time. YouTube accounted for nearly 75% of Google site time. Facebook was the second-most visited site, accounting for 23.2% of teen and young adults’ online time, 25.1% for 12-17-year olds.

In sharp contrast, though perhaps unsurprisingly, U.S. 12-24-year olds spent the least amount of their online time visiting online health sites compared to other age groups, comScore found. Nonetheless, 12-24-year olds accounted for 21% of health category website visitors, the second-largest demographic after 35-44 year olds. That’s an indication this is a demographic that merits attention, according to comScore.

Nearly two-thirds of 12-24-year olds visited a health category website in October 2011, up 9% year-over-year. WebMD Health, Everyday Health and Livestrong – eHow Health were the most visited health category Web properties among all age groups.

U.S. teens and young adults’ health-related Web browsing activity differed somewhat from those of other age groups, however, comScore found. They were most likely to visit lifestyle-oriented health sites, such as Lifescript.com and Bliss.com, both of which ranked among the top 10 sites for 12-24 year olds. That U.S. teens and young adults find these sites most attractive indicates that they “may view health as an integrated part of their lifestyle and do not only go to health sites for informational purposes…,” according to comScore.

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