Young adults favor mobile devices over desktops for net access

February 4, 2010

Young adults favor mobile devices over desktops for net accessYoung people today are just as likely to access the Internet on a cellphone as on a laptop. That news comes from a survey which also shows blogging is increasingly becoming an activity preferred by older users.

The latest figures from the Pew Internet and American Life project show some distinct differences between those aged 18-29 and older adults. It’s the only age group where laptop or netbook ownership (66 percent) is greater than desktop computer ownership (53 percent). They are also far more likely to access the Internet wirelessly (81 percent compared with 63 percent of those aged 30-49 and 34 percent of those aged 50 or over).

The most striking statistics about the 18-29 group however, is that while 55 percent have accessed the Internet wirelessly on a laptop or netbook, the same proportion have done so on a cellphone. Meanwhile 28 percent of the group have got online through another wireless device such as an e-reader. (This stat may be a little misleading as it includes games consoles which, while connected wirelessly, are not what you’d think of as mobile.)

The other main focus of the survey was the attitudes of the different age groups to blogging and social networks. The proportion of online teenagers who maintain a full-blown blog has halved from 28 percent in 2006. However, a rise in blogging among older users means the overall proportion of internet users who maintain a blog has remained steady at 10 percent.

Instead it appears teenagers have switched their focus to social networking, with the proportion using such services rising from 55 percent in late 2006 to 73 percent. For some reason, however, teens are now less likely to send daily messages to friends and more likely to use the services for other reasons.

One other statistic which certainly makes sense is that starting from 12 (the youngest age of participants in the survey), Twitter use starts low, grows as the age groups get higher, and peaks with those in their 20s. That might be dismissed as children not being interested in a site unless it has flashing lights and farm-based games, but I’d say it’s more than twenty-somethings are more likely to be stuck in front of a computer at work and snatching brief moments of entertainment.

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