A mini-survey from Stanford has concluded that US high school students spend “significantly” more time using digital media than their Chinese peers.

The research did, however, find Chinese students to be more net-savvy. The Beijing-based teens were faster to embrace new Internet technology and more likely to connect online with people they do not known in person.

Surprisingly, 44% of the Chinese students questioned owned iPads compared to just 16% of their US peers. The relative affluence of the students and their families is not known, while nothing is known of their other gadget habits which could influence iPad ownership. For example, if more of the US students own iPhones, they may be less likely to have an iPad.

While the report from SPRIE (Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship) is interesting, its sample size is so small and specialised (with just 44 students from Palo Alto and 27 in Beijing surveyed) that it is difficult to draw any wide-reaching, cultural conclusions.

That said, a number of other conclusions from the survey are below.

  • The Palo Alto teens spend significantly more time than their Beijing peers using social networking sites and blogging, clocking up two hours per day.
  • The Beijing students spend considerably more time watching films and videos online, to the point that they hardly watch traditional TV at all.
  • On weekdays schoolwork is the top online activity for both sets of students (good kids!). However, over the weekend, social networking becomes the top priority for the US kids, unlike the Chinese students who still put their schoolwork top.