The cellphone has become one of the defining technologies of the early 21st century. The use of smartphones has jumped among teenagers over the past year, according to new research, and three in every four teens access the Internet on cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
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A new study by the Pew Research Center, called Teens and Technology 2013, says that 78 percent of young people, ages 12 to 17, have a cell phone, and half of these phones are smartphones. The survey included a little more than 800 teens and their parents in the United States. One in four teenagers say they access the Internet mostly via their phones, or about 25 percent, compare to only 15 percent for adults. According to the results published this Wednesday, the number of smartphone wielding teens has grown over a couple of years. In 2011, just 23 percent of youngsters reported owning a smartphone, while now this number has jumped to 37 percent.
Of course, teenagers still have access to desktop and laptop computers – Pew says that 90 percent admit they have a computer. And although computers are so popular among them, still one out of every four teens reports they access the web on their cell phone more often than on traditional computers. The study also found that boys and girls are equally likely to own some smartphone. However, more girls connect to the web than boys – 34 percent of teen girls and only 24 percent of their male peers. And more interestingly, 55 percent of older girls say they use their smartphone as a primary means of connecting to the Internet.
It seems that smartphones are not the only popular device among teenagers. According to Pew, three in four youngsters say they access the Internet with some kind of mobile device, including cell phones, smartphones and tablets. Moreover, this is a trend developing independently of socioeconomic status, while in the past we used to think that owning some kind of mobile device was a sign of social status.
Mary Madden, the senior researcher for Pew Internet Project & Family Life Group, concludes that where several years ago Internet connection was mainly via desktop computers at home, now teenagers are constantly online thanks to mobile devices and mostly smartphones. In fact, many experts say that the patterns and trends for technology use in teenagers often signal future changes in the adult population. So, as this young generation of mobile surfers grows, technology, business and advertising will evolve with them. Some parents however are having difficulties working out rules for teens’ technology use, but this will change, according to the researchers.