Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013 Herkimer County TAP: Technology and the Internet

With tremendous growth of cell phones and technology devices such as tablets, personal communications  and interactions have changed dramatically in recent decades. The Teen Assessment Project (TAP) survey has focused for several years on establish some baseline data concerning the use of email, social networking, cell phones, and what has become known as "sexting" - the sharing of nude or semi-nude personal pictures across electronic communications, particularly among cell phone users.

Most teens have a web presence, including personal email and profile page. As many as 85% of all teens reported that they have a personal email address that is exclusively theirs. This is significantly more than in 2009 when about 79% said they had personal email. In addition, nearly 80% said they specifically have a personal profile page on Facebook, with one in twenty teens (5%) having multiple Facebook profiles. Twitter accounts are fairly well established among teens as well. Slightly under half (46%) indicated that they had Twitter accounts.

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Cell phones have become a prolific form of communication in our society. nearly 90% of all teens said that they have a cell phone.  Virtually all teens (93%) who have access to a cell phone use text messaging. Nearly 40% of all teens who have a cell phone send more than 100 texts a day, and more than a quarter (27%) send at least 150 texts every day.

In terms of sharing personal information, significantly fewer teens (13%) said that they had given personal information to a stranger online in the 2013 TAP Survey than four years earlier (17%). Similarly fewer indicated that they had actually been asked to meet with a stranger as well (10% in 2013 versus 13% in 2009). Still, both in 2009 and 2013, as many as 10% said that they had actually met a stranger, which was defined as someone who they did not personally know and with whom they had no common friends. 

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Nearly 45% of all teens have been involved in some form of “sexting,” meaning they had sent, received or shared nude or seminude pictures of themselves or others. While this is significantly less than in 2009 (52%), it still represents nearly half of all teens.

About one out of every five teens (22%) said they had shared a nude or seminude picture of themselves via an email, cell phone or through instant messaging. One in three teens (34%) said they had received a nude or seminude picture that someone else sent of themselves through email, their cell phone or instant messaging.  Slightly more than 20% of all teens said someone else, who had received a nude or seminude picture, had shared it with them. 

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About 6% of all 7th graders reported they had electronically sent a nude or semi-nude picture of themselves.  This is significantly less than in the 2009 when one in ten 7th graders (10%) indicated doing this. Also, fewer 9th graders indicated they sent pictures of themselves in 2013 than in 2009 data (2013 - 20%; 2009 - 30%). The percentage of 11th graders sharing such pictures of themselves remained essentially the same (approximately 40%).
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Among 7th graders, 14% said that others had sent them nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves; this is down from 22% in 2009. Also, a smaller proportion of 9th grade respondents reported ever receiving such pictures (2013 - 33%; 2009 - 45%).  Among 11th graders, the percent reportedly receiving nude or semi-nude pictures remained unchanged at about 55%.

To see the complete 2013 TAP report (or any of the previous reports as well), visit the Planning Department's Human Service page.