Understanding Instant Messaging Use Among Teens

September 4, 2006

(September 4, 2006)—College of Computing Associate Professor Beki Grinter, along with Leysia Palen from the University of Colorado at Boulder, conducted an interesting study about why teenagers use Instant Messaging (IM). The study is among the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library’s “top 10” downloads and highlights how IM fills gaps in communication needs, and more generally allows teenagers to work within the constraints of being unable to drive, having a curfew, and working around siblings’ and parents’ schedules.

Understanding IM use among teenagers, a population that has not previously engaged in collaborative information technologies in such a widespread fashion, requires examining it as a feature of teen culture. In their study of 16 teenage IM users, Grinter and Palen explored IM as an emerging feature of teen life, focusing their questions on its support of interpersonal communication and its role and salience in everyday life. This study was #8 on the ACM “top 10” downloads list in June, and is #19 for the year.

To view ACM’s "top 10" listing, click here.

To read Grinter's Instant Messaging study, click here.