Nature of teens’ internet use transformed with always-on connections

Do you know how your teenager is accessing the internet? The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project has published a new study that looks at USA teens and their use of computers, tablets and smartphones.

The report ‘Teens and Technology 2013‘ explores technology use among American 802 youths aged 12-17 and their parents, discovering that 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.

Teens are just as likely to have a cell phone as they are to have a desktop or laptop computer. And increasingly these phones are affording teens always-on, mobile access to the internet — in some cases, serving as their primary point of access.

This is especially important as the patterns of technology use by teens often signal future changes in the adult population.

The key findings of the report include:

  • 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. Most teens have at least a basic cellphone by age 12 or 13.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • Nine in ten (95 percent) U.S. teens ages 12-17 use the Internet. About three in four (74 percent) say they access the Internet on cellphones, tablets and other mobile devices at least occasionally. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” Internet users — far more than the 15 percent of adults who are cell-mostly. Among teen smartphone owners, half are cell-mostly.
  • 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.

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