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Arthur Greeenwald
Shelly, I think your informal impressions of teen use are probably more accurate than Google's but the discrepency may not be as large as it may seem. There are two under-reported factors here: First, it's a misconception that all teens live in a completely wired world. There are huge disparities among teens, based largely on socioeconomic status. Not all kids are rich or middle class. What's more kids in middle class households may have limited broadband access because they must share a computer with other family members -- or the computer itself may not be new and fast enough to fully interact with the media that's out there. Secondly, the kids who ARE wired are subjected to a withering amount of advertising and irrelevant information -- to such an extent that by a very young age they are very wary and completely cynical about all forms of marketing including research. In other words, I wouldn't be surprised if many adolescents simply lie about their usage, or change their posted demographics wherever possible just because it throws a wrench into the data collection. Arthur
Shawn Van Every
Regarding the consumption of media by teenagers, I think you are missing one very important aspect of online life, particularly as it relates to teenagers: Talking.. Every teenager that I have talked to and asked what they do online has said one of the three following things: MySpace, Facebook and AIM. I break this down as follows: Constructing identity, meeting people and talking with them. Sharing media and consuming media, I believe are aspects of that but take a back seat to the primary socializing behavior. I think it is possible that we are entering an era much more radical than the rise of the "Long Tail", we just might be going back to individual and small group storytelling as the primary media. Come to think about it, it isn't that radical, only seems different from the norm if you were born between 1940 and 1990.
Trent Adams
Just a quick comment about "missing data on kids". In addition to the socioeconomic issues (as mentioned by Arthur Greeenwald) and the socializing behavior (as mentioned by Shawn Van Every) aren't there also issues related to privacy concerns? From my experience, it seems a lot of online communities are skittish when it comes to tracking the digital lives of (loosely defined) kids. Is it possible, then, that the numbers as reported by Google and others are sparse when compared with adults? Coupled with Greenwood's comment regarding the validity of captured data from kids (ie. their truthfulness), it seems our confidence in their numbers is a tad on the low side.

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