Teens and Technology – Pew Report 2013

Teens and Technology – Pew Report 2013

Pew Internet is a good source for quantitative data regarding teens and internet use. Their recent reports have made some interesting conclusions about teen behavior online. Most of the following data is from the Teens 2012 keynote by Dr K. Purcell.


Some of the more interesting findings summarised. For the following data, the term ‘teen’ refers to the age group 12-17 (school age) teenagers unless otherwise stated.

  • 80% of teens use social networks
  • 95% of teens use the internet (the highest age group)
  • 88% of teens use a desktop/laptop computer to access the internet
  • 49% of teens use a phone to access the internet


  • 77% of teens have a cell/mobile phone
  • only 23% have a smart phone
  • 47% of teens talk to friends on the phone several times a week or more (decreasing)
  • 69% of teens send text messages several times a week or more (increasing)
  • only 17% of teens send emails several times a week or more

Some surprises there. The low frequency of smartphones amongst teens is likely due to their high cost and relative “newness” in the tech market. Teens are more interested in texting than talking. Email is not a popular option amongst teens, possibly because it’s not considered mobile or immediate. More effort is required to email whereas texting is short and faster.

Social Media

  • 93% of teens have a facebook account
  • 16% of teens use twitter, of which 12% have an account
  • only 2% of teens use tumblr and skype
  • 27% of teens record and upload videos of themselves online
  • 62% of teens keep their profiles private (viewable only by friends)
  • 39% of adults have “friended” their children on social networking sites

Clearly teens prefer facebook as their go-to social networking venue. Very few use twitter (more common amongst adults) and almost no teens use tumblr or skype (which is surprising!). Also, teens seem to be good at maintaining their privacy online and quite a few connect to their parents on social networking sites as well.

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