Pew: One-fourth of teen smartphone users are cell-mostly Internet users

Report shows that more young people are using mobile as a primary means to access online content

The number of teenagers who own smartphones has risen 23 percent in the last two years, underscoring the demographic differences in potential app users, according to the most recent Pew Internet and American Life report.  

Perhaps even more significant, the Pew research study found that, compared with the 15 percent of adults who mostly access the Internet via their phones, one in four teen smartphone owners are strictly mobile Internet users.

"While many teens have a variety of Internet-connected devices in their lives, the cell phone has become the primary means by which 25 percent of those ages 12-17 access the Internet," the report said. "Among teens who are mobile Internet users, that number rises to one in three (33 percent). Among teen smartphone owners, 50 percent say they use the Internet most via their cell phone."

The number of teenagers who own smartphones has risen 23 percent in the last two years.

The Pew study didn't look specifically at mobile apps but more broadly at Internet use. However, the findings show that the audience for apps may skew younger given the behavior of teens with their devices. In fact, the Pew study showed that while many mobile games and apps might seem directed at teenage boys, developers might want to think differently about their target market.   

"Older teen girls represent the leading edge of cell-mostly Internet use," the report said. "Thirty-four percent of them say that most of their Internet use happens on their cell phone. Among other teen girls who are smartphone users, 55 percent say they use the Internet mostly from their phone." That's a considerable base of people potentially looking through online app stores.

According to the report, teenagers from lower-income and lower-education households were more likely to be using smartphones as a primary way to access the Internet.

Overall, three out of four teens said they access the Internet through some kind of mobile device. While their smartphones are probably their own to use, 71 percent said they shared a computer with other family members.

For more:
- see the complete Pew report

Related articles:
Nielsen: More than half of all U.S. teens own smartphones
Lowenstein's View: The battle for the next phase of smartphone subscribers
It's time to treat the mobile device as the "prime" screen