Family, Friends and Community

The Pew Internet & American Life Project collects and analyzes data on the many ways that the growth of the Internet has changed the social dynamics of Americans. This includes their personal interaction with friends and family and the ways that they form communities. The project also analyzes the impacts of Internet use on people’s decisions on where to live or attend schools. Information on these trends is collected through public opinion polling, online surveys and other research methods.

Recent topics explored by the Pew Internet & American Life Project include privacy issues related to teen-oriented social networks; the number of single Americans who use the Internet as a means for romance; ways that the Web strengthens social networks; the ways that teenagers create content online; and the growth in the numbers of teenagers using the Internet at school. Information collected in these studies helps journalists, academic researchers and the public to better understand how society and personal relationships are changing in the Internet age.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a Pew subsidiary based in Washington, D.C. For more information about the Internet’s impact on family, friends and community, visit the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.


  • Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online

    Sep 05, 2013 - A new survey finds 86% of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints.

  • Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing

    Jul 16, 2013 - A majority of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers say digital tools encourage students to be more invested in their writing and make teaching writing easier, but also worry that they are having some undesirable effects.

  • Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

    May 21, 2013 - While teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites, they also take steps to manage their privacy.

  • The Best and Worst of Mobile Phones

    Nov 30, 2012 - Mobile phone owners like the convenience and ease of connectivity the devices offer, but rue that they can be interrupted more easily, have to pay the bills, and face bad connections.

  • 4-in-10 Adults Use Social Networking to Engage in Political or Civil Activities

    Oct 19, 2012 - The use of social media is becoming a feature of political and civic engagement for many Americans. A new Pew Research Center Internet & American Life report examines who is more likely to use social media to express their views, react to others' postings, follow candidates and 'like' and share others' content.

  • Twitter Use 2012

    May 31, 2012 - While the overall number of adults with Twitter accounts remains steady, the proportion of online adults who say they use Twitter on a "typical day" has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010. The rise of smartphones might account for some of the increase because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.

  • Networked: The New Social Operating System

    May 30, 2012 - Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, has written a book with sociologist Barry Wellman showing how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making and personal interaction. This new system of "networked individualism" offers some advantages in liberating people from the restrictions of tightly knit groups.

  • Three-Quarters of Smartphone Owners Use Location-Based Services

    May 11, 2012 - Nearly three-fourths (74%) of smartphone users use their phones to obtain real-time, location-based information and almost one-in-five use geosocial services such as Foursquare. The overall portion of adults who get location-based information has almost doubled in less than a one-year period.

  • Teens & Online Video

    May 03, 2012 - Online teens use video most to chat with others using applications such as Skype, Google Talk or iChat. Recording and uploading videos to the internet is the second most popular activity. Fewer teens stream live video for others to watch. Social media users are much more likely to engage in all three video behaviors.

  • Teens, Smartphones & Texting

    Mar 19, 2012 - The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. More than six-in-ten teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives. This far surpasses the frequency with which they pick other forms of daily communication, including phone calling by cell phone.

  • The Viral Kony 2012 Video

    Mar 15, 2012 - Young adults ages 18 to 29 were much more likely than older adults to have heard about -- and watched -- the 30-minute video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony that went viral last week on YouTube. More young adults heard about the video through Twitter, Facebook or other internet sources than from traditional media such as television, newspapers and radio.

  • Social Networking Users Find Surprises About Friends' Politics

    Mar 12, 2012 - According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly four-in-ten users of social networking sites have discovered through the postings of friends that their views were different than they thought. Three-quarters of social network users say their friends post at least some content related to politics on the sites from time to time. A small percentage of users have blocked or unfriended someone on the site because their postings were too frequent or offensive.

  • Privacy Management on Social Media Sites

    Feb 24, 2012 - As the increasing use of social media raises questions and concerns about privacy, a new study finds that most users choose restricted privacy settings for their profiles and that unfriending people and "pruning" content is on the rise.

  • The Tone of Life on Social Networking Sites

    Feb 09, 2012 - The overwhelming majority of adult users of social networking sites say that people are mostly kind in these spaces. This view is even more positive than the assessment offered by teen users. However, when bad behavior is encountered, adults are more likely than teens to stand back and ignore it.

  • Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give

    Feb 03, 2012 - A report by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that most Facebook users receive more attention from friends on Facebook than they give back when it comes to activities such as pressing the "like" button, trading messages, or tagging people in photos. The main reason is a segment of "power users" who contribute much more than the typical user does.

  • Tablet and E-book Reader Ownership Nearly Doubled Over the Holiday Season

    Jan 23, 2012 - According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, sales of tablet computers and e-book readers surged during the holiday season, causing the share of adults who own either device to nearly double -- from 10% to 19%.

  • The Civic and Community Engagement of Religiously Active Americans

    Dec 23, 2011 - Religiously active Americans are more tied to many civic and other organizations than non-religious Americans. Many report that their use of technology helps them in their group activities.

  • The Internet as a Diversion and Destination

    Dec 02, 2011 - Americans are increasingly going online just to have fun and pass the time. This is particularly true of adults under 30.

  • Why Americans Use Social Media

    Nov 15, 2011 - Two-thirds of online adults (66%) use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn. These internet users say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools.

  • Americans and Text Messaging

    Sep 19, 2011 - According to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, heavy text users are much more likely to prefer texting to talking. Some 55% of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call.

  • Americans and Their Cell Phones

    Aug 15, 2011 - Eighty-three percent of American adults own some kind of mobile phone. In a nationally representative telephone survey, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that cell phones are useful for a wide variety of tasks but come with some disadvantages.

  • Internet Phone Calls

    May 31, 2011 - After years of modest activity, online phone calling has taken off as a quarter of American adult internet users (24%) have placed phone calls online. That amounts to 19% of all American adults.

  • The Social Life of Health Information, 2011

    May 12, 2011 - The online conversation about health is being driven forward by two forces: 1) the availability of social tools and 2) the motivation, especially among people living with chronic conditions, to connect with each other.        

  • The Internet and Campaign 2010

    Mar 17, 2011 - More than half of U.S. adults used the internet for political purposes in the last cycle, far surpassing the 2006 midterm contest. Views are mixed: the internet enables extremism, but helps the like-minded connect; it provides diverse sources, but makes it harder to find truthful ones.

  • How the Public Perceives Community Information Systems

    Mar 01, 2011 - Studies in three cities show that if people believe their local government shares information well, they also feel good about their town and its civic institutions. Avid information consumers from media and online sources are also more likely to be involved and feel they have impact.

  • The Social Side of the Internet

    Jan 18, 2011 - The internet is having a wide-ranging impact on Americans' engagement with civic, social and religious groups, as organizations use digital tools -- such as Facebook and Twitter -- to bind themselves together and pursue goals.  

  • Four Percent of Online Americans Use Location-Based Services

    Nov 04, 2010 - Four percent of online adults use a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby.

  • Video Calling and Video Chat

    Oct 13, 2010 - Almost a fifth of American adults – 19% – have tried video calling either online or via their cell phones. These figures translate into 23% of internet users and 7% of cell phone owners who have participated in video calls, chats, or teleconferences.

  • Cell Phones and American Adults

    Sep 02, 2010 - Adults make just as many calls, but text less often than teens. Americans say their mobile phones make them feel safer and more connected, but are irritated by cell intrusions and rudeness by other users.  

  • Older Adults and Social Media

    Aug 27, 2010 - Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010 according to a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

  • Teens and Mobile Phones

    Apr 20, 2010 - Text messaging explodes as teens embrace it as the centerpiece of their communication strategies with friends.  

  • Chronic Disease and the Internet

    Mar 24, 2010 - Americans living with a chronic disease are significantly less likely than healthy adults to have Internet access. The majority are online, however, and they are more likely to share what they know and to learn from their peers, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation.

  • Understanding the Participatory News Consumer

    Mar 01, 2010 - An overwhelming majority of Americans get their news from multiple news platforms. Which media sectors do people in the U.S rely on most? How has the Internet and mobile technology changed the way people consume news? A Pew Research Center survey examines how Internet and cell phone users have transformed news into a social experience.

  • Social Media and Young Adults

    Feb 03, 2010 - The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that while the overall Internet population expanded continuously over the past decade, Millennials continue to be the most likely age group to go online (93% now use the Internet). However, their use of blogs, Twitter and social networking sites has changed in recent years.

  • Latinos Online, 2006-2008

    Dec 22, 2009 - The Pew Research Center's Hispanic Project and Internet Project combined forces to write an in-depth look at Internet penetration across racial and ethnic categories in the United States.

  • Teens and Sexting

    Dec 15, 2009 - As texting has become a centerpiece in teen social life, parents, educators and advocates have grown increasingly concerned about the role of cell phones in the sexual lives of teens and young adults.

  • Social Isolation and New Technology

    Nov 04, 2009 - A new study by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project challenges previous research which suggested that new digital technologies such as the Internet were increasing social isolation.

  • Twitter and Status Updating, Fall 2009

    Oct 21, 2009 - Some 19% of Internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.   

  • The Internet as a Diversion

    Sep 10, 2009 - According to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, three-quarters of online economic users go online to relax and take their minds off of the recession. Fully 88% of 18-29 year old online economic users look to the internet to relax.    

  • Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back

    Aug 19, 2009 - Pew Internet first surveyed teenagers about their mobile phones in 2004 when a survey showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since then mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens to 63% in 2006 and 71% in 2008.       

  • Twitter and Status Updating

    Feb 12, 2009 - About one-in-ten online adults now use Twitter or a similar 'micro-blogging' service that allows them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.

  • Generations Online in 2009

    Jan 28, 2009 - Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," Internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life. Gen X is the most likely to shop, bank and look for health info online. And larger percentages of older generations are doing many more activities online, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project surveys.

  • Adults and Video Games

    Dec 07, 2008 - Over half of American adults play video games, and four out of five young adults play. Among adults, computers are the most popular gaming device, but among young adults gaming consoles are preferred. Virtual worlds only draw a small crowd.

  • Networked Families

    Oct 19, 2008 - This national survey found that households with a married couple and minor children are more likely than other household types—such as single adults, homes with unrelated adults, or couples without children to have cell phones and use the Internet.

  • Networked Workers

    Sep 24, 2008 - More than six in ten workers now use the internet or email on the job, but many find technology a mixed blessing.

  • Teens, Video Games and Civics

    Sep 16, 2008 - The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement.

  • Writing, Technology and Teens

    Apr 24, 2008 - Report looks at teens’ basic definition of writing, explores the various kinds of writing they do, seeks their assessment about what impact e-communication has on their writing, and probes for their guidance about how writing instruction might be improved.

  • Teens and Social Media

    Dec 19, 2007 - The use of social media gains a greater foothold in teen life as they embrace the conversational nature of interactive online media.

  • Parents, Teens and Technology

    Oct 24, 2007 - A report on Internet use by teens and their parents.

  • Teens and Online Stranger Contact

    Oct 15, 2007 - Report finds teens who create social networking profiles or post photos online are more likely to be contacted online by people they do not know, and girls are more likely than boys to have unwanted encounters online.

  • Uploading Democracy: Candidates Field YouTube Questions

    Jul 26, 2007 - Analysis of the Democratic debate, which was widely anticipated for its groundbreaking format. For the first time, individuals could submit video questions via YouTube to be shown on-screen and answered by the candidates.

  • Cyberbullying

    Jun 27, 2007 - One in three online teens have experienced online harassment, and girls are more likely to be victims. But most teens say that they are more likely to be bullied offline than online.

  • Pew Internet Examines Social Networking (Spring 2007 Trust Magazine Briefing)

    May 01, 2007 - The Pew Internet and American Life projected examines many new online trends, including social networking.

  • Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks: How Teens Manage Their Online Identities and Personal Information in the Age of MySpace

    Apr 18, 2007 - Report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project examines how teens, particularly those with profiles online, make decisions about disclosing or shielding personal information.

  • Social Networking Web sites and Teens

    Jan 08, 2007 - Pew Internet & American Life Project finds more than half of all youths online visit social networking Web sites.

  • Pew Internet and American Life Project Releases Major Study of Bloggers (Fall 2006 Trust magazine briefing)

    Nov 21, 2006 - Fall 2006 Trust magazine briefing on a Pew Internet study that finds bloggers are writing about personal experiences.

  • Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

    Jul 19, 2006 - Survey finds that blogging has inspired a new group of writers and creators to share their voices with the world.

  • Online Dating: Still Popular, Some Concern Over Safety

    Mar 06, 2006 - Pew Internet takes a closer look at online dating.

  • Teens, Technology And School

    Aug 04, 2005 - The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that the Internet is a critical part of today's educational experience, according to many teenagers.

  • Teens Forge Forward With The Internet And Other New Technologies

    Jul 29, 2005 - Pew Internet & American Life issues findings on the behavior of teenagers using the Internet.

  • Online Sports Fantasy Leagues

    Jun 20, 2005 - Data memo describes the statistics on sports fantasy leagues online.

  • Artists, Musicians and the Internet: Research on How They Use It

    Dec 06, 2004 - First-of-its kind study on how artists and musicians use the Internet, and how they feel about copyright infringement issues.

  • How Americans Use Instant Messaging

    Sep 01, 2004 - A Pew Internet & American Life survey finds that more than four in ten online Americans instant message (IM).

  • The Internet and Daily Life

    Aug 12, 2004 - A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that many Americans use the Internet in everyday activities, but traditional offline habits still dominate.

  • Faith Online

    Apr 07, 2004 - A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project about how people use the Internet for religious and spiritual purposes.

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