Teenagers' favorite technologies and online behavior has a way of predicting the entire country's favorite technologies and online behavior. From Facebook, to mobile-phone addiction and Snapchat, the habits we dismissed yesterday as silly and childish have a way of going national.
So what does that mean for the future of TV?
Ever since the emergence of Netflix and other Internet-based video options, people have been predicting the "death of television." There are facts behind the hyperbole. Pay TV is having its worst year ever. Ratings are falling across most networks, and traditional TV's share of our attention is slipping. But television's optimists have facts, too. Overall, Americans are watching more "TV" than ever when you include time-shifted TV and Internet videos.
There’s a sense that, with the proliferation of screens and devices, young people are turning away from TV faster than the rest of the country in a way that predicts that cord-cutting is poised to fell the TV industry. In fact, Nielsen’s latest cross-platform report shows that teens (a) have always watched less TV than older Americans; (b) are watching slightly less traditional TV than they used to; but (c) aren't exactly fleeing the living room screen.