It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Smartphone: American teens and the infiltration of mobility into their computing live


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Amanda Lenhart spoke at the 2012 Lawlor Summer Seminar ( in Minneapolis, where she discussed the rise in smartphone ownership among youth, the demographics of mobile phone ownership and the changes wrought as youth begin to have access anytime, anywhere to people and information.

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It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Smartphone: American teens and the infiltration of mobility into their computing live

  1. 1. It Ain’t Heavy, It’sMy Smartphone:American teens &the infiltration ofmobility into theircomputing livesAmanda Lenhart | Pew Research CenterHardwick-Day & The Lawlor Group Summer SeminarMinneapolisJune 14, 2012
  2. 2. Title of presentationRoad Map• The Internet: Then & Now• Teen internet basics• Mobile• Video• Social Media• Context around teen internet and social media use– Teen privacy choices– School technology climate• What it means for you6/12/2013 2
  3. 3. The Internet:Then and Now
  4. 4. 46% of US adults used the internet5% had home broadband connections53% owned a cell phone0% connected to internet wirelessly0% used social network sites_________________________Information flowed mainly one wayInformation consumption was astationary activityInternet Use in the U.S. in 2000Slow, stationary connectionsbuilt around a desktopcomputer
  5. 5. 82% of US adults use the internet2/3 have broadband at home88% have a cell phone; 46% aresmartphone users19% have a tablet computer19% have an e-reader2/3 are wireless internet users65% of online adults use SNSThe Internet in 2012Mobile devices havefundamentally changed therelationship betweeninformation, time and spaceInformation is nowportable, participatory, andpersonal
  6. 6. The Very Nature of Information Has ChangedAll around usCheap or freeShaped and controlled byconsumers and networksDesigned for sharing,participation and feedbackImmediateEmbedded in our worldsScarceExpensiveShaped and controlledby elitesDesigned for one-way,mass consumptionSlow movingExternal to our worldsInformationwas…Informationis…
  7. 7. Information is Woven Into Our LivesMobile is the needle, Social Networks are the threadSocial Networks…Surround us withinformation through ourmany connectionsBring us informationfrom multiple, variedsourcesProvide instant feedback,meaning and contextAllow us to shape andcreate informationourselves and amplifyothers’ messagesMobile…Moves informationwith usMakes informationaccessible ANYTIMEand ANYWHEREPuts information atour fingertipsMagnifies the demandfor timely informationMakes informationlocation-sensitive
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  9. 9. 6/12/2013 9•Internet adoption over time by teens & adults% within each age group who go online95%94%87%74%41%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Nov 04 Nov 06 Nov 07 Feb 08 Sept 09 July 1112-1718-2930-4950-6465+
  10. 10. Digging down to differencesInternet use• Latino youth slightly less likely than whites to use the internet(88% vs. 97%)• Youth from low income/low SES environments slightly more likelyto go online less frequently– more likely to say that they use the internet 1-2 days a weekor less often.Computer ownership• No racial or ethnic differences• Low education households – where parents have a HS diplomaor less, are substantially less likely to have youth who say they“own” a computer. (65% vs. 80%)6/12/2013 10
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  13. 13. % of adult cell phone owners age 18+ within each group who do the following activities with their cell phoneWhite, non-Hispanic(n=1343)Black, non-Hispanic(n=232)Hispanic(n=196)Send or receive text messages 70 76 83*Take a picture 71 70 79*Access the internet 39 56* 51*Send a photo or video to someone 52 58 61*Send or receive email 34 46* 43*Download an app 28 36* 36*Play a game 31 43* 40*Play music 27 45* 47*Record a video 30 41* 42*Access a social networking site 25 39* 35*Watch a video 21 33* 39*Post a photo or video online 18 30* 28*Check bank balance or do online banking 15 27* 25**indicates statistically significant differences compared with whites.Source: The Pew Research Centers Internet & American Life Project, April 26 – May 22, 2011 Spring Tracking Survey. n=2,277 adults ages 18and older, including 755 cell phone interviews. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.Adult Cell Phone Activities by Race/Ethnicity
  14. 14. How Phones Function In Lives of Adults% of US adult cell owners who had done each of the following in the 30 days prior to the survey…
  15. 15. % of cell owners in each age group who have performed these real-time activities in the previous 30 daysSource: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Mobile Survey, March 15-April 3, 2012.16454121523181114151826272123293137394521%31%33%45%43%49%60%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Get help in an emergency situationGet up-to-the minute traffic or publictransit infoLook up sports scoreLook up something to settle anargumentDecide whether or not to visit abusiness, such as restaurantSolve an unexpected problemCoordinate a gathering18-2930-4950-6465+Adults Using Phones for Real-Time Information
  16. 16. Smartphone ownership• 23% of all teens have asmartphone; as do one thirdof mobile phone owners• Age is most important indetermining cell orsmartphone ownership– 12-13 least likely to have a cellphone, mostly feature phones(8% have smartphone)– 14-15 majority have cellphones, but mostly featurephones (21% smartphone)– 16-17 majority have cell, approx40% have smartphone6/12/2013 16
  17. 17. Smart phone ownership (2)• Once cell ownershiphurdle is crossed, nodifferences in smartphoneownership by race,income.• Avid users of social media(91% use SNS, 25%twitter vs. 77% use SNS,13% twitter non-smartphone owners• Is it a smartphone? Latinoyouth less certain thattheir phone is asmartphone (24% notsure, vs. 10% of whites).6/12/2013 17
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  19. 19. Location-based services• Standalone applications like Foursquare orlocation features on platforms like Facebook andTwitter• 6% of all American teens have used a location-based service to check in or note their locationon their cell phones.– 8% of cell owners– 18% of smartphone owners– Older teens (14-17) use them more thanyounger (9% vs. 1%)– No differences in use by gender, race or SES6/12/2013 19
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  26. 26. Video• 27% of teens record and upload video– Boys and girls equally likely to do so (in2006 boys were more likely)– Social media users more likely to shootand share video– No differences by race, ethnicity orSES26
  27. 27. Title of presentationVideo• 13% of teens stream video live to theinternet– Broadband users– Social media users more likely• Don’t know WHAT is being shared27
  28. 28. Title of presentationVideo• 37% of teens use video chat– Girls chat more– White youth chat more than LatinoYouth– Higher SES youth more likely to chat– Social media users chat more28
  29. 29. 6/12/2013 29Teen social network & Twitter useBased on teen internet users55%60%65%73%80%8%16%0%20%40%60%80%100%Nov 2006 Nov 2007 Feb 2008 Sept 2009 July 2011Use online social networking sites Use Twitter
  30. 30. 6/12/2013 30Where do teens & adults maintain their onlinesocial media accounts?Based on teens/adults who use social network site(s) and/or Twitter11%10%14%87%0%12%24%*93%*0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%LinkedInTwitterMySpaceFacebookTeens Adults
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  32. 32. Differences in Social Media UseTwitter shows big differences– 34% of online African-American teens use Twitter– 11% of online white teens use Twitter– 13% of online Latino teens use Twitter– Lower income teens (under 30K hhd inc) more likely to usethan higher income teens.– Girls more than boys – youngest boys 12-13 are laggardsSocial network site use more broadly adopted– Lowest income teens use SNS more than highest incometeens– Girls more than boys– Older teens more than younger teens6/12/2013 32
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  34. 34. 6/12/2013 3444%73%*79%84%*89%90%*92%*69%*59%67%68%84%73%73%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Play gamesTag people in posts,photos or videosSend private messages tofriendsPost a photo or videoSend IMs or chat withfriendsPost a status updatePost comments on friendspostsAges 12-13 (n=123) Ages 14-17 (n=500)How younger and older teens use social media
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  36. 36. 6/12/2013 36Teens’ privacy settings on social media sitesBased on teen SNS or Twitter users (n=623)17%19%62%2%PublicPartiallyPrivatePrivate(friends only)Dont know /Refused
  37. 37. Title of presentationFriend Management• 84% say all friends can see thesame thing on SNS profile,• 15% say they limit what certainfriends can see.• 30% have shared a password withfriend or significant other.6/12/2013 37
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  39. 39. Thinking before they post• 55% of teens have decided not to postsomething online because of concerns that itmight reflect poorly on them in the future• Older teens withhold more than younger (59%vs. 46%)– 17 year olds withhold the most (67%)• Social network users more likely to withhold(60% vs. 34%)6/12/2013 39
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  41. 41. Parents and tech ownership• 91% of parents of children ages 12-17 own cell phones,• 86% of parent cell owners send and receive text messages.– 84% of all adults have cell phones; 76% of them exchangetext messages.• 87% of parents of teens are internet users (vs. 78% of those inthe overall adult population)• 82% of parents have broadband connections at home (vs. 62%of those in the overall population).• 86% of parents of teens own laptops or desktops; 76% of thosein the overall adult population have them.• Online parents are just as likely as the general population ofadult internet users to use social network sites;– 67% of online parents of teens use social network sites likeFacebook or LinkedIn; 64% of all adult internet users useSNS6/12/2013 41
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  45. 45. Summary• Our relationship to information has radicallychanged in the last 12 years.• Digital differences have moved beyond classicaccess issues of the last decade• Mobile is a more universal access point…• …but truly robust mobile-phone basedcomputing is still in the hands of relatively fewteens• Geo-location not embraced• Social media hugely important; tension aroundprivacy & management of the space6/12/2013 45
  46. 46. What does it mean for you?• Internet access is base – beginning to see diversification inaccess points – worth starting to design for multipleplatforms.• Mobile is increasingly important – particularly for minority, lowSES youth and families. But tends to be for real-timeinformation seeking – campus visit, not college research.• Smartphones are coming, but ¾ of youth don’t have them yet(60% of 16-17 year olds don’t have them).• Geo-location – fun, but teens aren’t there yet – tablets too.• Email – don’t rely on it. Many teens use it, but not frequently.• Text-based messaging has moved into social media andtexting; teens starting to prefer text over voice.• Facebook is dominant; but Twitter is on the rise. WatchTumblr.6/12/2013 46
  47. 47. Title of presentation 6/12/2013 47Amanda LenhartPew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project by arcticpenguinNew Pew Report:Digital Differences