For U.S teens consuming media is a full-time job: VNU Teen Trend Report

MUMBAI: According to Harrison Group's recently released VNU Teen Trend Report, Americans aged 13 to 18 spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media -- defined as the Internet, mobile phones, television, music and videogames. Because teens are known for multitasking, their usage of devices can overlap.

Harrison Group vice-chairman Jim Taylor said, "The general saturation of media lends a feeling among teens that they are playing a starring role in their own reality TV show. Teen life has become a theatrical, self-directed media production."

The Harrison Group, whose 2006 Teen Trends study was sponsored by VNU Business Media, surveyed 1,000 Americans aged 13 to 18 on their thoughts and habits, to extrapolate trends for the estimated 25.2 million teens in the US. This is the third year of the study.

The study estimates that despite their age, the population of teens has great purchasing power, thanks to money coming in from part-time jobs and parents. Teenagers spend about $195 billion annually on clothes, eating out, cars, movies and mobile phones, according to the report.

They're also spending money on technology.

For 2006, one-third of teens reported owning an Apple iPod, up from only 1 per cent in 2003, according to the study. More than half said they also own and play Sony's PlayStation 2, and one-third said they own an original Microsoft Xbox game console. But as many as three quarters reported playing videogames on a regular basis.

Harrison estimates that 75 per cent of teens spend two or three hours a day downloading or listening to music online. Roughly half of those kids say that downloading music for free is illegal. But 41 per cent are unconcerned with the ramifications or ethics of illegal downloads.

An estimated 68 per cent of teens have created profiles on social networks like MySpace, Xanga or Facebook. More than a quarter of the population keeps in touch with friends online on a daily basis, either through instant messaging, email, message boards or chat rooms. According to the study, the average teen chats via IM with 35 people for a total of three hours a week. But the average teen will only call or email with seven people who are not on their IM list on a weekly basis.

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