Nearly one-quarter of America’s teenagers are almost always online

Nearly one-quarter of America’s teenagers are almost always online
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About one-quarter of the nation’s teenagers are online “almost constantly,” according to a new Pew Research Center study. 

The study of Americans aged 13-17 found that 92 percent of teenagers go on the Internet every day, and 24 percent say they are “almost constantly” on the Internet, in a sign of just how central the Web is becoming for young people’s lives. More than half the nation’s teenagers — 56 percent — go online several times a day.


“Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile phones — particularly smartphones,” noted study author Amanda Lenhart.

About 73 percent of teenagers own or have access to a smartphone, the Pew survey found, while African-American teenagers were the most likely to own one.

Of those that use a mobile device to go online, 94 percent go on the Internet at least once a day.

Those results will be heartening news for mobile providers such as Verizon and AT&T, which are in the midst of acquiring more licenses to the nation's airwaves to deliver people's data. Through a recently completed federal auction of the airwaves and another sell-off set for next year, companies hope to use more spectrum to beam their signals

The Pew survey also covered social media use and found that 71 percent of teenagers still use Facebook, despite the fact that — at more than a decade old — the networking site is practically a dinosaur in terms of Internet companies. Teenagers from wealthier families are less likely to use the service, however.

Half of U.S. teens use photo-sharing service Instagram and one-third use Twitter. Anonymous applications, such as Yik Yak and Whisper, which have been the focus of significant attention in tech circles, are less popular among teenagers, with just 11 percent saying they use one of the identity-shielding sharing applications. 

The Pew survey looked at 1,060 teenagers last autumn and again this year, from Feb. 10 to March 16.  

— Former Whisper editor in chief Neetzan Zimmerman is currently the senior director of audience and strategy at The Hill.