A massive new study of 18,000 kids from 16 different countries revealed some surprising details about how the next generation thinks about technology, and how it’s impacting their lives. Conducted by Nickleodeon, MTV and Microsoft, the survey was obviously intended to figure out how to sell more stuff to today’s youth, or tomorrow’s adults, but the findings are fascinating from a purely sociological perspective, too. Consider this: the average young person in China has 37 online friends he or she has never met. Globally, the average is 20, which is surprising enough. But in tech-savvy Japan, a teen will only have 7 such online friends. One reason for the much larger number in China, the report’s authors suggest, is that home life is vastly different for these kids. They have few or no siblings, and reach out to others over the Web through social networking sites, blogs, and instant messaging. China also stood out because its kids were the only group that preferred going online to watching TV—everywhere else in the world, the old-school screen still rules. More details can be found here.—Gregory Mone