Teens now spend more than four hours a day online, and their Internet use is growing at a much faster pace than adults, according to research from GfK.
In the past year, time spent online by teens (ages 13-17) rose an incredible 37 percent. In comparison, online minutes stayed relatively flat among people over 18—and even among younger adults aged 18-49.
Teens today are rarely offline. They spend hours on smartphones, tablets, Internet-connected TVs and videogame consoles, and they use these devices to watch videos, buy and stream music, shop online and interact with video-gaming friends.
“Teens are not only accessing the Internet more—they are also leading the way in using it via different platforms,” said Robert DeFelice, Vice President on GfK’s Media and Entertainment team.
Five years ago smartphones and tablets were too expensive for parents to buy their teens, but that’s not the case anymore. GfK found that more than half (55 percent) of teens now own smartphones, a huge leap from 35 percent just a year ago. Tablet ownership among teens doubled from 18 to 37 percent in the previous year.
Tablet use is especially on the rise among teens, spiking 157 percent in the past year to more than a half hour per day. Smartphone use was up 72 percent to more than an hour per day.
“But one shouldn’t discount PC use among teens; it remains a major factor in time spent with the Internet,” DeFelice said.