Most teenagers use mobile devices header image

Published: 12th Feb 2014

The majority of UK teenagers use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, recent research has revealed.

A survey carried out by YouGov found 81 per cent of 13 to 18-year-olds own a smartphone, while 34 per cent of these also possess a tablet. 

Smartphone ownership tends to increase with age, as 86 per cent of 17 to 18-year-olds tend to have one of the devices compared to 79 per cent of those aged between 13 and 14. 

Parents and friends have a notable impact on what handset teenagers choose, influencing 26 per cent and 24 per cent of respondents respectively. Parents also had a strong say on what mobile networks teenagers use, with 61 per cent of youngsters saying they influenced their decision.

Russell Feldman, director of technology and telecoms at YouGov, stated: "That mums and dads hold more sway than teenagers' friends over which smartphones 13-18 year-olds buy perhaps points to the power of the purse strings but may also indicate that many parents are passing on their knowledge - if not their actual phone - to their offspring as they become more tech-savvy.” 

When it comes to tablets, many teenagers have access to one of the devices even if they do not own one. In addition to the youngsters who possess a device, 27 per cent are able to use one in their household.

The survey found the main thing teenagers use tablets for is playing games. Chatting and instant messaging is also popular, although this is more common among 13 to 14-year-olds than older teenagers.

Individuals aged between 17 and 18 are much more likely to buy goods online through a tablet, with 37 per cent doing so. The figure drops to 22 per cent for 13 to 14-year-olds. Roughly four in ten teenagers of all age groups use the devices to download and stream media content.

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