How Much are Teenagers Addicted to Smartphones?

In case there was any doubt about the growing shift towards mobile devices, a new report shows how smartphone adoption among American teens has surged over recent years.

With Internet access becoming more widespread than ever, 25 percent of teens are “cell-mostly” Internet users, compared to only 15 percent of adults. These teens say they mostly go online using their phone instead of desktop or laptop computers, according to a Pew Research Center study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

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The survey of more than 800 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 and their parents finds the following:

  • About three in four teens are “mobile Internet users” who say they access the Internet on cellphones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally. Only 55 percent of adults are mobile Internet users.
  • Seventy-eight percent of teens now have a cellphone, with almost half of those owning smartphones. This translates into 37 percent of all teens having smartphones, up from 23 percent in 2011. In comparison, 45 percent of all adults have a smartphone.
  • Even though boys and girls are equally likely to be smartphone owners, older girls are especially likely to be cell-mostly Internet users. Thirty-four percent of teen girls between the ages of 14 and 17 say they mostly go online using their cellphone, compared to only 24 percent of boys in the same age range.
  • One in four teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.