Background: Smartphone ownership among teens
As of July 2011, some 23% of all those ages 12-17 say they have a smartphone. Our recent report, “Teens, Smartphones & Texting,” found that ownership is highest among older teens: 31% of those ages 14-17 have a smartphone, compared with just 8% of those ages 12-13. Teens whose parents have a college education are also slightly more likely to have a smartphone (26%) than teens whose parents have a high school diploma or less (19%).
In addition, another 54% of teens have a regular cell phone (or are not sure what kind of phone they have), and 23% do not have a cell phone at all.
Teens and geosocial services
Among smartphone owners, teens’ use of geosocial services as of July 2011 is similar to that of adults in February 2012: 18% of teen smartphone owners ages 12-17 use geosocial services, compared with 18% of adult smartphone owners age 18 and older. Overall, 6% of all American teens use geosocial services on their cell phones, as shown in the following table.
In general, older teens ages 14 to 17 are more likely to use geosocial services than 12 and 13-year-olds. (In our sample the largest group of teens who broadcast their location was 17-year-olds.) There are no statistically significant differences in use of geosocial services by gender, race, household income, or parents’ education level. For more information about teens and geosocial services (presented in terms of all teens, as opposed to only teen smartphone owners), see our recent report, “Teens, Smartphones & Texting.”