Teens: Super Users (and Predictors) of Technology
BY Sonya Chudgar
Newsflash: Kids use the Internet a lot. Here's what you need to know about their usage--and why it matters.
A new survey from Pew and the Berkman Center found that 95 percent of teenagers use the Internet and 93 percent have a computer or have access to one at home. Nearly a quarter of teenagers access the Internet exclusively on their cell phones.
Why should you care?
“In other areas we’ve seen in the past, teens have shown us our future, to a certain degree,” said Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher and director of the teens and technology initiatives at Pew. “Teens and children, with their greater facility and greater expectation, play with technology, and I think that play shows us ways to use technology in ways that maybe we, as adults, didn’t think of.”
The study surveyed 802 parents and their 802 children who are between ages 12 and 17. Researchers surveyed participants who live in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and Western regions of the U.S.
Of the 5 percent of teens who don’t use the Internet, Lenhart said about half have never used it and the other half have used it previously but don’t use it right now, perhaps because they lack access.
Other findings include that nearly half (47 percent) of teens have smartphones, a 23 percent jump from 2011, and that nearly a quarter have a tablet, a figure similar to the general adult population.
Meanwhile, of teens who live in households that make less than $30,000 per year, 89 percent use the Internet, compared to 99 percent of teens who live in households with incomes above $75,000.
“It’s pretty hard to be a child today and not have used the Internet, at least occasionally, in some way,” Lenhart said.