Teens Use Internet To "... Look Things Up"

According to  a new international study by ResearchNow and K&A Brand Research, with respondents aged 12 – 17 years old from the US, Poland, Germany and the UK, teenagers in all four markets enjoy unlimited and unsupervised access to the internet. Respondents reported that they are able to go online as long and as often as they wish, they do not need to ask for parental permission, and only in Germany are teenagers required to share internet access with siblings.

62% of the young people surveyed report that they go online every single day; 46% several times a day. Age does not make a big difference when comparing the amount of time teens spend on the net. There is no sudden explosion in internet use at the age of 16, but rather a gradual increase in the amount of time spent online as children age. Of those who go online several times a day, 11% are 12 years old and 21% are 17 years old. Teenagers in the UK and Poland use the internet 20% more often than their counterparts in Germany and America

The top reason why teens go online, cited by 92% of respondents, is to find out information, ‘looking up things I don’t know.’

  • The second most popular activity is finding out about events and what’s happening, with 83% of teens doing this
  • Next, young people use the internet to research public transport and window shop, with 74% saying that’s why they go online
  • Teenagers in Poland use the internet to search for and purchase products more frequently than their international counterparts
  • Overall, only 35% of teens say they actually purchase items online
  • After ‘window shopping,’ the most popular activity is playing games, with 73% of teens going online to do this

Roughly one-third of the teens surveyed from each country go on the internet most often via a PC or laptop. The additional two-thirds reported accessing the internet through a tablet, smart phone, video game console, television or other device. According to the survey:

  • 27% of British teens go online via their smart phones, while fewer American (11%), German (9%) and Polish (2%) teens use their smart phone to get online.
  • Music and CDs are the most popular items to search for online. Teens in Poland, however, search for online games more than music (64% in Poland as opposed to 59% in the US; 57% in the UK; and 56% in Germany). Shoes are also a popular search item among British (62%) and Polish (57%) teens, but not as popular among German (53%) and American (42%) teens.

Top 5 Things Teens Search For Online

Search For

% of Respondents (approx.)



Online games








Source: Research Now, February 2013

When asked about a list of items respondents have ever searched for on the internet, including books, music, films, clothes and electronics, 36% of American teens reported have searched for mobile phones on the internet, while 58% of their counterparts in Poland, 53% in Germany, and 55% in the UK use the net to search for mobile devices more often. Teenagers in all four countries agreed that it didn’t matter much which smart phone they had. Only 21% reported that the iPhone was the only smart phone for them.
Despite national differences, teens generally have more favorable attitudes towards traditional print or TV advertisements than online ads. Around 30% of the teens surveyed like to talk about non-digital ads with their friends. Roughly half of American, British and Polish respondents recall traditional advertisements, but less than a quarter said the same about online advertisements. According to the survey, 28% of teens from Poland are the most annoyed by offline ad,  while 50% of British teens are more annoyed by online ads.

American Teen Attitudes Re: Offline & Online Ads (% Group Responding to Statement)

Statement Applies

Offline Ads

Online Ads

Doesn’t Apply

Talk about them with friends




Gets on my nerves




Try to not pay attention




Like watching




Remember for long time




Inform myself about product




Introduced to product subsequently purchased




Source: Research Now, February 2013

For more information from ResearchNow, please visit here.


2 comments about "Teens Use Internet To "... Look Things Up"".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, March 5, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.

    So only 60% go online every day? But I bet 98% watch TV every day. Very shocked at the low internet use. More proof never believe advertising people promoting milennials as living online.

  2. Tony Nino from PADV Pasadena Advertising, March 5, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.

    My eyes are watering.
    Teens Use Internet To "... Look Things Up."
    I bet! I know teens. I've had teenaged children. I patently do not believe that "respondents aged 12 – 17 years old from the US, Poland, Germany and the UK" who "enjoy unlimited and unsupervised access" to the internet have never, ever searched for porn.
    Even the Muppets know better than that.

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