While 25% of teens say they access the Internet mostly through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, females are more likely than males to do so, at 29% compared to 20%. Girls between the age of 14-17 accessed the web via mobile the most at 34% compared to 24% for boys.
Usage was also high among black teens, with 33% using mobile devices to surf the web versus 24% of white teens.
The results, released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that financial backgrounds played a factor in how teens access the Internet. Low-income teens are more likely to own smartphones because they tend to use them rather than computers to surf the web.
Mobile usage tends to be higher among teens living in households with annual income under $30,000 at 30% compared to 14% of teens in homes earning $50,000 to $74,999 and 24% earning $75,000 or more. Pew found that 73% of teens in the lowest income bracket owned a computer, compared with 80% of teens overall.
Other takeaways from the Pew study:
— Overall, 95% of youths aged 12 to 17 had access to the Internet, 74% had mobile access to the Internet through a phone or tablet, as of September 2012.
— Smartphone use by teens is on the rise and contributing to increased mobile Internet use, with 23% of teens having a smartphone in July 2011, versus 37% in September 2012.
— Male teens tend to use the Internet more than female teens (97% vs. 93%).
— Teens in rural areas are more likely to access the Internet than urban teens (99% vs. 94%).
— White teens go online more than nonwhite teens (99% versus 92% among black teens and 88% among Hispanic teens).