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Summary:

How are U.S. teenagers accessing the internet and using mobile devices? A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that both cell phone adoption, but specifically smartphone adoption, is growing at a rapid pace.

iphone camera
photo: jesus-leon

Want to know what U.S. smartphone adoption might look like next year? You’d do well to start by taking a look at today’s teenagers, who are owning smartphones and accessing the internet through mobile in increasing numbers.

A new study set to release Tuesday night from the Pew Research Center finds that one in four American teenagers accesses the internet primarily through mobile; about three quarters of those teens own cell phones, and half of that group uses smartphones. The report, titled “Teens and Technology 2013,” surveyed 802 teenagers (ages 12-17), as well as their parents, to better understand how U.S. teenagers are using technology.

The major mobile carriers in the United States found that adult smartphone adoption in the United States hit 50 percent in August 2012, and teenagers aren’t far behind, nearing almost 40 percent at this point.

Here were some statistics we found most interesting from the report, which can be found on the Pew Research Center website:

  • Almost all teenagers — 95 percent — use the internet, and 93 percent can access a computer at home
  • 74 percent of teenagers get on the internet somewhat occasionally via phones and tablets, and one in four of them access the internet primarily through mobile
  • 78 percent of teenagers own a cell phone and 47 percent of those teenagers have smartphones specifically
  • 37 percent of all teenagers in the United States own smartphones, an increase from the 23 percent in 2011
  • Tablet computer ownership marks 23 percent of teenagers, which is about the same percentage among U.S. adults
  • While girls and boys are equally likely to own smartphones, girls aged 14-17 are much more likely than boys of the same age to get on the intenret primarily through mobile (34 percent of girls versus 24 percent of boys)
  • Interesting, teenagers from lower income families are more likely to access the internet primarily through cell (30 percent of teens from households earning less than $30,000 per year, compared to 14 percent from households earning $50,000-$74,999 and 24 percent from households at more than $75,000.)

And probably to no one’s suprise, teenagers are the age group most likely to be accessing the internet, still out pacing older users, particularly those over 65, by a wide margin:

Pew adult internet teenagers consumption mobile

  1. phones & tablets don’t do anything, so we see an increase not in the understanding of tech. but only in it’s use, but for what, to talk and look! looks like just more mouths to feed, give me a job (i need to be directed) free health care and retirement benefits. it’s profits for the moment and liability in the future.
    slayerwulfe cave

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  2. Great study. I’d be interested to see a inter continental comparison as smartphone penetration has different effects / dynamics on society in different demographies. I’ve written before about the payday loan culture in the UK, one if its driving factors is the increasing cost of data usage and the continuing demand for new smartphones in low income communities. Ill be writing about monthly outgoings and rise in personal debt again soon so may refer to your study if possible . Thanks

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