Study: With Smartphones, Some Teens Are Online ‘Almost Constantly’

May 1, 2015

[dean belcher/stone]
[dean belcher/stone]

With easy access to the Internet via widely available smartphones, 92 percent of teens report going online daily, including 24 percent who are connected “almost constantly,” a new study from the Pew Research Center finds. Nearly three-quarters of teens have access to a smartphone, and more than half of those ages 13 to 17 say that they go online several times a day. Defying earlier reports of its decline among the demographic, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform for teens, and the one that they use most often. Forty-five percent of boys visit Facebook, compared to 36 percent of girls.

Half of teens are using Instagram, and nearly as many use Snapchat, the survey says. At 23 percent, girls are more likely to use Instagram than boys (17 percent). Teens ages 15 to 17 are more likely than younger teens to use Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Girls dominate visually oriented social media for sharing, while boys usually own gaming consoles and play video games, Pew finds.

Middle and upper-income teens lean toward Instagram and Snapchat, while those from less well-off households often use Facebook. Some 88 percent of teens have access to cellphones or smartphones, and 90 percent of them exchange text messages. The survey reports that a typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day, through telephone-company systems and also via mobile-messaging apps such as Kik or WhatsApp.

Greg Beaubien

Greg Beaubien is a frequent contributor to PRSA’s publications.

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