Online social networks are spaces on the internet where users can create a profile and connect that profile to others to create a personal network. Social network users post content to their profiles and use tools embedded with in the social networking websites to contact other users.
Age is a particularly important factor for understanding teen use of social networks. For 12 and 13 year olds, social network use is not as prevalent, with just two in five (41%) of teens those ages using the sites. Once teens approach or enter high school, their use jumps -- 61% of teens 14-17 use online social networks.
MySpace dominates the social networking realm, with more than 85% of teens with online profiles saying that the profile they use or update the most resides on that site. Following on its heels is Facebook, with 7% of profile-owners updating their Facebook profile most regularly. Another 1% have a profile on Xanga and others told us that they have a presence on sites like Yahoo, Piczo, Gaiaonline and Tagged.com, among others.%%FOOTNOTE%%
Teens who use social networking websites visit them frequently, both to edit their own profiles and to view the profiles of others. Almost half of teens who use social networks, visit them once a day (26%) or several times a day (22%). One in six (17%) visit the sites 3 to 5 days a week and 15% visit them 1 to 2 days a week. One in five or 20% say they visit online social networks every few weeks or less often.
Teens use social networks from the places where they go online most often. For most teens, that means that they use social networks on their home computers. Teens who go online from home are more likely to visit social networking websites and have a profile posted online than their counterparts who go online most often from school.