Young people really do use e-mail

By Steve Outing

As the father of two American girls, now ages 11 and 16, I get to watch the younger generation’s (digital) media habits up close, which is useful in my line of work as a media trend watcher.

Something I noticed some time ago with my teen daughter is that e-mail is used in limited ways. She and her friends mostly communicate via social networks (MySpace and Facebook, in her case) and phone text messaging and instant messaging on the computer. If I send her an e-mail and want her to read it, I need to alert her to check her in-box.

However, with the 11-year-old, e-mail is big. The “big” social networks haven’t caught on with her and her friends — though they do get into some social networking activity via sites like Neopets, Club Penguin, Webkinz, etc. Of course, technically you’re supposed to be 13 to get a MySpace account. And Facebook accounts you can’t get unless you’re at least in high school, so that’s a big part of it.

So this is just a little tip for anyone targeting kids with content or services. When you hear that today’s kids don’t use e-mail so much and that it’s a communications preference more for the older generations, remember that that generalization doesn’t apply as much to the pre-teen crowd.

For more info about kids’ and teens’ online habits, check out this new research funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!