Data Monday: American Teens, Media, & Devices

by Luke Wroblewski January 24, 2010

The current generation of teenage Americans is growing up with the Internet and media devices galore. As you might expect, they use both -a lot!

  • Young Americans aged 8 to 18 spend more than 7.5 hours a day using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, compared with less than 6.5 hours 5 years ago. (source)
  • They also spend an hour and a half texting, and the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. (source)
  • Because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that 7.5 hours. (source)
  • In 2004 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 – to 63% in fall of 2006 to 71% in early 2008. (source)
  • 2004 survey of teens, 18% of teens age 12 owned a cell phone. In 2009, 58% of 12 year-olds own a cell phone. We also have found that cell phone ownership increases dramatically with age: 83% of teens age 17 now own a cell phone, up from 64% in 2004. (source)
  • In comparison, 77% of all adults (and 88% of parents) had a cell phone or other mobile device at a similar point in 2008. Cell phone ownership among adults has since risen to 85% in April 2009. (source)
  • In 2006, 51% of all teens had ever sent a text message, while 58% had done so by 2008.  In 2009, 66% of teens use text messaging. (source)
  • On average, young people spend about 2 hours a day consuming media on a mobile device. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web. (source)
  • Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them. (source)
  • More than 7 in 10 youths have a TV in their bedroom, and about a third have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom. (source)