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Cell Phones Rising


Cell phones have become nearly ubiquitous as a technology. Perhaps that is a commonplace assertion, but a number of recent studies have shown just how much we have come to rely on them for communication, information, and entertainment. Some of the most reliable and consistent research has been performed by the PEW Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which has been surveying Americans as to their Web-related activities and technologies since the year 2000. While their studies are most often large-scale surveys, their findings reveal nuances concerning the growing popularity of cell phones and how they are used.

  • As of 2013, PEW reported that 91% of adults now own a cell phone, though many people use them to do much more than have real-time audio conversations (Duggan, 2013).

  • Close to 61% of all cell phone owners can be classified as smartphone owners—a percentage which suggests that 56% of allyoung men with cell phones American adults are smartphone users (Smith, 2013).

  • Of all cell phone owners, 82% take pictures, 80% send or receive text messages, and 56% access the Web with their phones (Duggan & Rainie, 2012).

  • While a range of phones are able to connect to the Web, 31% of smartphone owners use their phone as their primary means of access; as such, nearly 17% of all adult phone owners use their phone as their primary Web browsing device (Smith, 2012).

  • Among college students, the rate of cell phone ownership is even higher, as between 96% and 99% of undergrads, graduate students, and community college students reported owning a cell phone (Smith, Rainie & Zickuhr, 2011).

  • Seventy-eight percent of teens own cell phones, while 47% of teens own smartphones. These numbers suggest that 37% of all teens own and use smartphones, a number 14 points higher than a study conducted only two years prior (Madden, Lenhart & Duggan, 2013).

  • Three-quarters of all teens report using their mobile device to access the Web and 63% claim they send or receive text messages every day (Lenhart, 2012).

  • On a daily basis, only 39% of all teens made phone calls, 29% used social networking services to send messages, 22% wrote instant messages, 19% talked on landline phones, and 6% emailed (Lenhart, 2012).

  • Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 send a median of 100 texts per day (Lenhart, 2012).

  • Those aged 18-24 years send or receive nearly 110 text messages per day and about 12% of that population claims to send or receive over 200 messages on an average day (Smith, 2011).