Pew survey: 25 percent of teens are ‘cell-mostly’ Internet users

Published: Monday, March 18 2013 10:16 a.m. MDT

Peter Conkey, 6, left, laughs as he tries to keep his brother Harry Conkey, 17, center, from taking his iPod Touch as their brother Harry Conkey, 15, watches on Monday, March 11, 2013, in Wilmette, Ill. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project says more teens are using smartphones as a main means of accessing the Internet — moreso than adults.

Martha Irvine, Associated Press

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The Pew Internet & American Life Project released new survey results last week that revealed significant upward trends across multiple aspects of when and how teens utilize smartphones.

The survey — conducted in concert with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society — concluded that “smartphone adoption among teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the Internet is pervasive. One in four teens are ‘cell-mostly’ Internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone.”

Other major findings from the Pew survey include:

78 percent of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47 percent) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37 percent of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23 percent in 2011.

23 percent of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.

95 percent of teens use the Internet.

Below is a sampling of the “lead paragraphs” that various news outlets and tech websites employed in framing their online coverage of the new Pew survey:

Associated Press: Keep computers in a common area so you can monitor what your kids are doing. It's a longstanding directive for online safety — but one that's quickly becoming moot as more young people have mobile devices, often with Internet access.

Education Week: The use of smartphones has jumped among teenagers over the past year, according to a newly released national survey, which also shows that one in four of youths in that age group access the Internet mostly through their cellphones. The results … offer one of the clearest indications to date of the extent to which many teenagers have abandoned desktop computers in favor of mobile devices.

NBC News: Using the computer for Internet access is so 2004, at least for many teens: One in four now skip laptops and desktop computers for their phones, preferring to be ‘cell-mostly’ Internet users. And among the teens lucky enough to own a smartphone, half use that device as their primary means of accessing the Internet.

Reuters: About 37 percent of Americans ages 12 to 17 tap the Internet using a smartphone, up sharply in just a year, according to a 2012 Pew survey released on Wednesday. Twenty-three percent of teens mainly go online using their phones and not a desktop or laptop computer, versus 15 percent of adults.

CNET: The old stereotype that teens love using telephones still holds true even in the digital age. Now, though, instead of landlines, almost all teenagers use cell phones. And, according to a new Pew Research Center report released today, more and more U.S. adolescents own smartphones.

Mashable: It's a sight that's all too common, now: teenagers never looking up, glued to their cellphones every hour of the day. Text messages may seem like the major culprit for this behavior, but a new report shows that one in four teens use cell phones as their device of choice when browsing the web.

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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