1 in 4 American Teens Access the Internet Mostly From a Mobile Phone

March 13, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Digital | Hispanic | Household Income | Men | Mobile Phone | Women | Youth & Gen X

Pew-Teen-Cell-Mostly-Internet-Users-Mar201378% of American teens (aged 12-17) now own a cell phone, and 47% of those teens own a smartphone. That translates to 37% of all teens having a smartphone, up from 23% in 2011, per new data [pdf] from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Along with that increasing adoption of mobile phones, the survey reveals that 25% of teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, meaning that their cell phone is the primary way for them to access the internet.

Among teens who access the internet through a mobile device (74% of the total), 33% are cell-mostly internet users, while among smartphone owners, that figure rises to a gaudy 50%.

Looking at the demographics of these cell-mostly internet users, Pew finds that they are more likely to fall into the 14-17 age group than the 12-13 range (29% vs. 16%), and that girls aged 14-17 (34%) are the most likely to be cell-mostly users.

Black, non-Hispanic teens are also above-average in cell-mostly internet use (33%), as are teens whose parents’ household income is less than $30,000 per year (30%).

Other Findings:

  • 95% of teens are now online.
  • 93% have a computer or have access to one.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet, with that figure climbing to about 30% among those whose parents have high levels of household income and college education.
  • Hispanic teens (43%) are more likely to own a smartphone than black (40%) and white (35%) teens.

About the Data: The Pew findings are based on a nationally representative phone survey of 802 parents and their 802 teens ages 12-17. It was conducted between July 26 and September 30, 2012. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the full sample is ± 4.5% points.

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