In a recent post we looked at how young kids are taking to their parent’s smartphones to play educational games and use creative apps. Smartphones are becoming a major platform for distribution of educational content to kids, followed closely by tablet devices which peak in use with 6 – 9 year olds according to a recent Communicus study.
Tablets still get a lot of use in the tween years, but for teenagers, smartphones are by far the prevailing device of choice. In this post, we look at how teenagers are using their mobile devices for education and recreation.
How are teens using mobile devices and/or the internet?
According to 2014 ACMA research, Aussie Teens Online, 69 percent of Australian teens aged 14-17 have a smartphone and 56% of these teens use a mobile phone to access the internet. Research on children aged eight to 17 has found that as children become older, going online becomes a central activity for social interaction, education, knowledge gathering and exposure to new experiences.
In addition, according to the same study, teenagers are the most avid users of the internet for entertainment – 90% of teens use the internet for entertainment activities, compared to only 75% of adults aged 18 to 54. A large majority of teens (85%) also use their devices for communication and research or info (60%).
Interestingly, a Communicus study of US kids found that while teens clearly love their smartphones, their tablet use is not as high. When it comes to tablet usage, 6-9 year olds ranked first, followed by older tweens and pre-kindergarteners.
Primary schoolers were also most likely to use tablets for educational purposes (such as schoolwork), with the number around 56%. Around 48% of middle school respondents used tablets for educational purposes and high schoolers ranked last at 45%. When it came to smartphones, however, the numbers were reversed with high schoolers ranking first in using their phones for educational purposes.
Teens and the future of technology
Regardless of whether teens prefer their smartphone or tablet, there’s no denying that they are the future of technological development – and thankfully, it seems we’ll be in good hands.
Teens are already beginning to put their love of smartphones to good use – a group of teenagers at the University of New Hampshire Manchester used computer science to build mobile apps in UNH’s STEM Discovery Lab.
Closer to home, Year 9 student Ben Pasternak was so bored in science class that he decided to design an iPhone game, which he then asked his friend in Chicago to help him develop. The game, Impossible Rush, tests the player’s brain reflexes – players tap a wheel to match colours against balls which fall – and peaked at number 18 on the Australian App Store and 16 in the US App Store, above apps like Vine, Gmail, and Twitter.
Tell us: how do your teens use social media?