Smartphones lead to rise in US teens’ con­nec­tions: poll


It’s not just your imag­i­na­tion: most Amer­i­can teenagers are on­line or on their smartphones ev­ery day, and many are al­most con­tin­u­ally con­nected.

A Pew Re­search Cen­ter sur­vey re­leased Thurs­day found that 92 per­cent of U. S. teens go on­line daily.

That in­cludes 56 per­cent who are on­line sev­eral times a day and 24 per­cent who say they are con­nected to the In­ter­net and so­cial net­works “al­most con­stantly.”

A key fac­tor is the grow­ing preva­lence of smartphones.

The sur­vey of teens be­tween the ages of 13 and 17 found that 73 per­cent had a smart­phone and 30 per­cent had at least a ba­sic cell­phone.

Even though 87 per­cent of teens have ac­cess to a com­puter, 91 per­cent went on­line daily us­ing a mo­bile de­vice at least oc­ca­sion­ally, Pew found.

The sur­vey found that African- Amer­i­can and His­panic youth are among the most ac­tive In­ter­net users.

Among African- Amer­i­can teens, 34 per­cent re­ported go­ing on­line “al­most con­stantly” as did 32 per­cent of His­panic youth and 19 per­cent of white teens.

“Amer­i­can teens, es­pe­cially African- Amer­i­can youth, have em­braced smartphones and the 24/ 7 ac­cess to peo­ple and in­for­ma­tion that they of­fer,” said Amanda Len­hart, a Pew re­searcher and the lead au­thor of the re­port.

Some 90 per­cent of teens with phones ex­change text mes­sages, with a typ­i­cal teenager re­ceiv­ing 30 texts per day, Pew found. And one- third of those with smartphones use mes­sag­ing apps such as What­sApp or Kik.

The re­searchers found Face­book re­mains the dom­i­nant so­cial me­dia net­work for young Amer­i­cans de­spite the rise of new plat­forms.

Among the teens sur­veyed, 71 per­cent said they used Face­book, with Instagram -- owned by Face­book -- the num­ber two so­cial me­dia ser­vice used by 52 per­cent.

Asked about other so­cial me­dia, 41 per­cent of teens said they use Snapchat, 33 per­cent named Twit­ter and Google Plus, 24 per­cent were on Twit­terowned Vine and 14 per­cent used Ya­hoo-owned Tum­blr.

The fig­ures ap­pear to al­lay con­cerns that Face­book is be­ing aban­doned by youth as more older In­ter­net users join the world’s big­gest so­cial net­work.

“Even as Face­book re­mains an im­por­tant plat­form for a ma­jor­ity of teens, Instagram is com­mand­ing the at­ten­tion of half of teens, and Snapchat nearly that num­ber,” said Len­hart.

“There are some in­ter­est­ing dif­fer­en­tials in the most fre­quently used so­cial plat­forms, with lower in­come teens us­ing Face­book more of­ten, while wealth­ier teens -- while still us­ing Face­book -- are more likely than less wealthy teens to re­port that they use Snapchat or Twit­ter most of­ten.”

More than two-thirds of the teens sur­veyed said they use more than one so­cial net­work. But of those who use only one, 66 per­cent said they opted for Face­book, with Google Plus and Instagram tied for sec­ond place with 13 per­cent each.

The re­port was based on an on­line sur­vey of 1,060 teens from Septem­ber 25 to Oc­to­ber 9, 2014 and Fe­bru­ary 10 to March 16, 2015. The mar­gin of er­ror was es­ti­mated at 3.7 per­cent­age points.

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