Of the 12- to 17-year-olds living in the United States, 95 percent use the Internet, 93 percent have access to a computer at home, and 71 percent of teens with a computer at home share it with other family members – the biggest explanation, probably, for why teens’ Net use has gotten so mobile. It allows them to keep their connectivity personal.
- Devices used: 78 percent of teens now have a cellphone, and 47 percent of those devices are smart phones – which means that more than a third of all US teens (37 percent) have smart phones, up from 23 percent two years ago. Almost a quarter (23 percent) of teens have a tablet computer.
- Mobile access: 74 percent of teens access the Net on cellphones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally.
- Mostly mobile access: A quarter (25 percent) of teens are “cell-mostly”, meaning they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. Of adults, 15 percent identified as cell-mostly and “among teen smart phone owners, half are cell-mostly.”
- Older girls are even more mobile: More than a third (34 percent) of girls ages 14 to 17 go online mostly by cellphone, compared to a quarter (24 percent) of boys ages 14 to 17 (they use Xbox Live more, I figure, but this is purely anecdotal!). Pew says the gender discrepancy is “notable since boys and girls are equally likely to be smart phone owners,” bearing out, I think, the theory that cellphone use is very individual. “Among older teen girls who are smart phone owners, 55 percent say they use the Internet mostly from their phone.”
Mobile digital divide narrower
Pew found that teens in “lower-income and lower-education households are still less likely to use the Internet” – mobile or wired – but they are “just as likely and in some cases more likely than those living in higher income and more highly educated households” to be cell-mostly with their Internet access.