Just over half of children in the United States — 53 percent — now own a smartphone by the age of 11. And 84 percent of teenagers now have their own phones, immersing themselves in a rich and complex world of experiences that adults sometimes need a lot of decoding to understand.
These stats come from a new, nationally representative survey of media use among children ages 8-18, by Common Sense Media, which has been tracking this since 2003.
The findings highlight the myriad ways young people are using their devices. Just ask Ashley Mingo, a junior at the Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in New York City.
"Pinterest — that's where I look for drawing inspiration and sometimes clothes inspiration when I'm leaving for school," the 16-year-old explains as she gives a reporter a tour of her smartphone. "Tumblr for writing and reading, and Snapchat to post selfies and see what people say. And Webtoon to read comics and see how comics are formed and how creators got from their beginnings to now."
The home screen is a shot of her favorite K-pop music star, from a group called Stray Kids.