Washington, DC–A new study finds teens are increasingly accessing the internet through mobile devices, mainly through smartphones. Teenagers continue to constitute the largest share of smartphone users in the United States.
One in four teens, ages 12 through 17, typically forego using a desktop computer or notebook and opt for a tablet or phone, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, Teens and Technology 2013.
By contrast, about 15 percent of adults use smartphones as a primary access point to the internet. These findings reinforce the common notion that teens are predisposed to technology use and engage heavily on digital interaction.
But the figures bare-out more than just 25 percent of the teen population. “Among teens who are mobile Internet users, that number rises to one in three (33 percent). Among teen smartphone owners, 50 percent say they use the Internet mostly via their cellphone,” the study states.
Nearly 37 percent of teenagers now own a smartphone, a large increase of approximately 14 percent from 2011, when about 23 percent were smartphone owners.
Gender also plays a roll in the findings. Pew notes that girls are far more likely to use their smartphones for internet access than boys, 29 percent to 20 percent, respectively. Ownership is also dominated by teenage girls, with 34 percent owning a smartphone compared to 24 percent of boys.
The teenage population as a whole racks up some remarkable statistics when it comes to cell phones, tablets, internet use and social media. For instance, the Pew study found that 78 percent of teenagers own a cell phone, 23 percent own a tablet, 93 percent have some type of home access to the internet and 80 percent have computers. In 2004, just 45 percent of teenagers had a cell phone, while 75 percent owned a desktop or laptop computer.
“The report shows that smartphone adoption among teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the Internet is pervasive,” said Mary Madden, a researcher with Pew.