Teens Are Increasingly Turning To Smartphones For Their Internet Fix

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Kids these days take the Internet for granted. When I was their age, I had to wait my turn to use the family desktop in the kitchen. Even then, it was on a painfully slow 56k dial-up connection. The accelerated spread of smartphone use among teenagers will ensure that they never have to experience true hardship like I did.

The Pew Research Center released a new study today that found smartphone use increased among teenagers aged 12-17 by over 10 percent last year. One in four teens are also abandoning traditional Web browsing on computers in favor of browsing the Internet via their smartphone.

“The nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically — from stationary connections tied to shared desktops in the home to always-on connections that move with them throughout the day,” said Mary Madden, Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and co-author of the report. “In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.”

To get a full sense of how connected teenagers are today, take a look at the numbers:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
  • No wonder teens are using smartphones as their primary Internet access device. Sharing a computer with the rest of the family is a sure fire way to get caught browsing questionable Web sites.

    Check out the rest of the study here.

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