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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

A Glimpse into the Lives of America’s Youth

It's 2009; do you know what kids today are saying, thinking and doing? Well for starters, according to Harris Interactive's 2009 YouthPulseSM report, they are shopping, maintaining relationships, absorbing technology, worrying about the future, aspiring to greatness and going online and going online and going online. And this just barely scratches the surface of what their lives are all about.

Among the findings:

• Youth love their quality Internet time. Tweens report spending an average of 1.1 hours on the Internet daily, 13-17 year olds say they spend about 2.5 hours per day, and young adults spend the most with 3.2 hours per day. But what is so compelling about being online? The answers differ significantly by age group. The most popular online activity for tweens is playing online games with others; for teens it's listening to music, and for young adults it's visiting social networking sites.

• Cell phone ownership among youth has steadily increased since 2002. Eight in ten (80%) 13-21 year olds own a cell phone today, up from only half (49%) in 2002. Even 8-12 year olds are increasing their presence in the cell phone market, a ten-fold gain since 2002 when 3% of tweens said they owned one, compared to three in ten (29%) who say they own one today.

• Even with all of the incredible technological and media influence in the lives of youth today, family and friends are still a fundamental piece of their lives. Nearly all (95%) tweens, 86% of teens, and three- quarters (74%) of young adults have spent time with their family in the past month. And across all age groups, youth say they would first turn to their mom and then their dad if they were in trouble.

Friends play a much larger and more integral role in the lives of youth as they get older. When it comes to who understands them the most, who they can talk to most openly, and who they most like to spend time with, 8-12 year olds consistently say their moms, while 13-24 year olds say their friends. However, for issues such as peer pressure, drugs and alcohol and religion, where 18-24 year olds would turn to their friends for advice, 13-17 year olds still tend to lean on their moms, similar to their younger peers.

Source: Harris Interactive