April 12, 2013 —

Every month, we’re keeping you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at teenager’s mobile Internet usage- specifically when it comes to smartphones.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially in the last year and has become their preferred method of accessing the Internet. One in four teens are now “cell-mostly” Internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone not other devices such as a desktop or laptop computer. The key findings from the national survey of 802 youth ages 12-17 and their parents include:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the Internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.

This means it will become increasingly more difficult for parents to monitor their teen’s Internet activities and shield them from dangerous online behaviors, including learning about drug and medicine abuse. That’s why it’s important for parents to set clear expectations for their teen’s online activities and to provide them with the information and tools they need to manage their online behaviors. Instead of being reactive when your teen gets into trouble online, be proactive and help them avoid the pitfalls of risky online behaviors by talking about it now.

Learn more about this study and its findings here.