Highlights of the Pew Internet Project’s research on teens.
(Note: This page will be updated whenever new data is available.)
Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online (September 2012 survey).
See: Teens and Technology 2013
Mobile (September 2012 data, except where noted):
As of September 2012 78% of teens have a cell phone and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011. (Teens and Technology 2013)
Three-quarters (74%) of teens have accessed the internet through a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet. One-quarter of teens (25%) access the internet mostly on a cell phone. (Teens and Technology 2013)
Computer and Device Ownership
Eight out of ten teens have a desktop or laptop computer. Among the 20% of teens who do not have their own computer, two-thirds (67%) have access to one they can use at home. Taken together, this means that 93% of teens have a computer or access to one.
71% of teen computer users say the computer they use most often is shared with family members.
One-quarter (23%) of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population (25% of American adults have a tablet computer).
Communication choices (July 2011, except where noted):
Texting dominates teens’ general communication choices. Overall, 75% of all teens text, and 63% say that they use text to communicate with others every day.
- 39% of teens make and receive voice calls on their mobile phones every day.
- 35% of all teens socialize with others in person outside of school on a daily basis.
- 29% of all teens exchange messages daily through social network sites.
- 22% of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others.
- 19% of teens talk on landlines with people in their lives daily.
- 6% of teens exchange email daily.
The volume of texting among teens has risen from a median 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the typical teen text user.
Older girls remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.
Click here for more on what teens do with their phones.
26% of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and half 48% of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel (September 2009 survey; see Teens and Distracted Driving)
Teens and social networks (July 2011 data):
80% of online teens use social network sites such as Facebook or MySpace, and 16% use Twitter. Among teen social media users:
- 93% have an account on Facebook
- 24% have an account on MySpace
- 12% have an account on Twitter
- 7% have an account on a Yahoo site
- 6% have an account on YouTube
- 2% have an account on each of the following: Skype, myYearbook, and Tumblr
- 1% have an account on Google Buzz
MySpace usage is far less prevalent among teens than it was five years ago. In 2006, more than eight in ten teen profile owners (85%) said that MySpace was the social network profile they used most often; as of July 2011 just one-quarter of such teens (24%) report having a MySpace profile at all.
For more see Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites, Part 1: Teens and Social Networks
A September 2009 Pew Internet survey found a decline in blogging among teens: In 2006, 28% of online teens ages were bloggers, but by 2009 the number had dropped to 14%.
6% of all teens use a service on their cell phone like Foursquare or Gowalla to “check in” to certain locations or share location with friends.
For a look back at social media and young adults, please visit our February 2010 report.
Social and emotional experiences on social networking sites – kindness, cruelty and bullying (July 2011):
69% of social media-using teens say their experience is that peers are mostly kind to each other in social network spaces. Another 20% say their peers are mostly unkind, while 11% volunteered that “it depends.”
More teens report positive personal outcomes than negative ones from interactions on social network sites: 78% report at least one good outcome and 41% report at least one negative outcome (to read more about these outcomes, please click here).
But 88% of social media-using teens have witnessed other people be mean or cruel on social network sites.
15% of social media-using teens say they have been the target of online meanness.
19% of teens have been bullied in the past 12 months in some form – either in person, online, by text, or by phone.
For more see: Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites
Privacy and safety (July 2011):
44% of online teens admit to lying about their age at one time or another so they could access a website or sign up for an online account.
Online teens who use social network sites are twice as likely as non-users to say they have misrepresented their age online in order to gain access to websites and online services (49% vs. 26%).
Roughly one in three online teens (30%) reports sharing one of their passwords with a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend.
55% of online teens say they have decided not to post something online because they were concerned it might reflect badly on them in the future.
62% of teens who have a social media profile say the profile they use most often is set to be private so that only their friends can see the content they post.
Few teens (2%) say they have sent sexually suggestive images or videos, but 1 in 6 say they have received them.
For more see: Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites, Part 3: Privacy and safety issues.
Want more Pew Internet info on teens? Check out these greatest hits, from our archives:
Social Media and Young Adults
Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back
Teens, Video Games and Civics
Writing, Technology and Teens