The average American teen spends more than a third of their day consuming media.
The average American teen spends more than a third of their day consuming media. - 
Listen To The Story

The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project has a new study that looks at teens and their use of computers, tablets and smartphones. Looks like smartphone use by teenagers is skyrocketing. As of late last fall, 37 percent of U.S. teens have smartphones, up from 23 percent just in 2011.

Pew's Mary Madden and Amanda Lenhart wrote the study, and offered other tidbits from their research on teens and how they're using technology.

  1. Nine in ten (95 percent) U.S. teens ages 12-17 use the Internet. About three in four (74 percent) say they access the Internet on cellphones, tablets and other mobile devices at least occasionally.
  2. 78 percent of teens now have a cellphone, and almost half (47 percent) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37 percent of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23 percent in 2011.
  3. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” Internet users -- far more than the 15 percent of adults who are cell-mostly. Among teen smartphone owners, half are cell-mostly.
  4. Most teens have at least a basic cellphone by age 12 or 13. Among teens ages 12-13, 68 percent have a cell phone. Just 23 percent of younger teens have a smartphone.
  5. More than 4 in 5 teens with cellphones sleep with the phone on or near the bed.
  6. 75 percent of all teens text, and 63 percent say that they use text messages to communicate with others every day.
  7. 26 percent of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and 48 percent of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel.
  8. One in four teens (23 percent) have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  9. Nine in ten (93 percent) teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71 percent) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
  10. Eight in ten teens use social networking sites. Two in three (65 percent) social media-using teens have had an experience on a social network site that made them feel good about themselves, while 15 percent say they have been the target of online meanness.

So what might this mean for businesses looking to market to teens? Click on the audio player above to hear more.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Dan Gorenstein at @dmgorenstein