Oct 14, 2014 11:33:22 AM

Teens Prefer Smart Phones Over Tablets [study]

Ever heard a parent joke around about their child knowing more about their smartphone than they do? A new study by Communicus found that it might not be a joke after all.

Children born in the digital age have much more of an advantage over other age groups – smartphones and tablets have almost always simply been a part of daily life for them. So Communicus focused on ownership of mobile phones or tablets versus those children and teens who borrow a parent’s device. Of US children ages 2 to 5, 1 percent owns a smart phone, while 37 percent use someone else’s. The numbers steadily increase as age does: of children ages 6 to 9, 14 percent own, and 47 percent use. Forty-six percent of children ages 10 to 12 own a smart phone; 71 percent use. Not surprisingly, the percentage for children age 13 to 17 rises considerably: 84 percent own a smart phone, while 94 percent use someone else’s.

Information about tablets tells a completely different story. Thirty-three percent of children aged 2 to 5 own their own tablet, while 71 percent use a parent’s. Of children ages 6 to 9, 46 percent own a tablet, and 83 percent borrow someone else’s. Fifty-seven percent of children ages 10 to 12 own a tablet; 80 percent use. Interestingly, for children ages 13 to 17, the numbers dip: 42 percent for ownership of a tablet, and 65 percent for those who use someone else’s. Teens, it seems, are more inclined to favor smart phones over tablets, while the opposite can be said for the 6 to 12 year old demographic.

The study also took note of those children using electronic devices for schoolwork more than twice a week.

Elementary students

  • Laptop/notebook – 44%
  • Tablet – 34%
  • Smart phone – 17%

Middle school students

  • Laptop/notebook – 56%
  • Tablet – 30%
  • Smart phone – 20%

High school students

  • Laptop/notebook – 66%
  • Smart phone – 43%
  • Tablet – 27%


  • “Little Kids Beat Big Kids in Tablet Usage.” 2014. EMarketer.com
  • “Communicus Study Findings Show Demand for Mobile Devices Sky-High for Children.” 2014. Communicus.com
  • “What The Teen Survey On iPhone, iPad And Watch Means For Apple.” 2014. Forbes.com