Stats on Millennial Smartphone Use

A new Pew Research Center study released this week revels some fascinating statistics about U.S. adults and their cell phones.

Of note, but not surprising, is the fact that 64% of adults now own a smartphone – basically everyone under the age of 80 who can afford one.

What caught our eye is the statistics around millennial users (18 – 29 years old). Parents of teens probably agree that if younger users were surveyed, the results would be even more striking.

pew-internet-smartphoneNot only are young users more dependent on their smartphones, but three behaviors cited by the research were far more prevalent in young adults than in older ones – using a smartphone to avoid boredom, using a smartphone to avoid actual conversation and using a smartphone for directions.

  1. Avoiding boredom – This category is probably poorly defined. Much of the time it’s not about boredom; your phone is where everything is. People and conversation, games, news, pictures – much of what older adults still consume in analog form.
  2. Avoiding actual conversation – This one is slightly troublesome, but I’ll admit that I’ve done it. When making eye contact could lead to an awkward conversation, looking down at your phone is a near-perfect move.
  3. Using a smartphone for directions – This one is just plain good. When I first got my driver’s license, I was lost all the time. When I first worked in New York City, I never knew which subway to take. Those problems are things of the past.

Even if your teen’s smartphone is in your teen’s hand all the time, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as interests are balanced. Avoiding some contact is okay, but kids do still need to be able to hold a conversation. Make sure to stay on top of that.

In the Pew research are also some not-so-headline-worthy tidbits: more than 40% of smartphone users also look up info about healthcare of job opportunities and almost 20% have used a smartphone to apply for a job! Things are different these days, and that’s mostly okay.



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