According to a 2006 report by Magazine Publishers of America, 78% of teens read magazines. A 1999 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that teens 15 to 18 spend an average of 13 minutes daily reading magazines. They also found that on a given day, about 6 in 10 of these teens will read a magazine, boys being 10% more likely to do so than girls.
Online surveys taken in 2001 by SmartGirl and Young Adult Library Services Association found that 31.3% of young people ages 11 to 18 reported that teen magazines were their favorite non-book reading material.
A Teenage Research Unlimited focus group with 7th grade through 11th grade teen girls revealed that they rely on magazines as a medium for expression, fashion and beauty advice and equate them to a close confidant. Similarly, Taylor Research & Consulting Group found that almost half of girls 12 to 15 look to magazines almost as much as their friends for the coolest trends.
Aside from influencing fashion, trends, etc. among adolescents, teen mags have found a plethora of ways to involve their readers in contests and projects that make a social statement.
- Seventeen - In 2005, then Editor-in-Chief, Atoosa Rubenstein, worked with MTV to create the show, Miss Seventeen, in which seventeen socially active girls from across the country competed for the title. Below the winner, Jennifer Steel, talks about her win, her endeavors and being an Alpha Kitty, a female-empowerment movement created by Rubenstein.
- Justine - Yearly competitions are held for a Face of Justine and a week-long Guest Editor who is featured on the cover and in a fashion spread of the magazine. The clips below talk about the Face of Justine contest and the 2006 winner, Brooke.
- CosmoGIRL! - The magazine's annual Born to Lead awards feature young women doing something impactful in their school or community. It partnered with Maybelline to award some of these CG!s of the year scholarships and a trip to New York. CG! also has Project 2024, created in 2002, which strives to make a CG! President by 2024.
In 2006, the magazine worked with NBC on the "The More You Know Contest," in which girls submitted a self-esteem public service annoucement script to be read by SVU's Mariska Hargitay. Below is a clip about the contest, as well as a clip from the today show featuring the winner, CG! Editor-in-chief Susan Schulz and the actual public service annoucement.