How young people use smartphones

It's a love-hate relationship

Americans of all ages love their smartphones, but young people are the most attached to their devices and accompanying apps, according to a recent survey from Vox and Morning Consult

The survey, conducted in September, found that 78% of U.S. adults own smartphones, with ownership varying greatly by age group: 92% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 own smartphones, compared with 54% of people over age 65.

Of those users, 59% have Androids, 36% have Apple iPhones, 2% have Windows phones, and 1% have BlackBerry phones. Among respondents with a college degree, about half own iPhones, compared with 31% of respondents who do not have a college degree.

But even though they're the heaviest cellphone users, young adults also are the most likely to say a smartphone's constant connectivity can be stressing. Seventy-eight percent of people under the age of 30 said their smartphones are distracting, compared with 25% of those 65 years and older.

Smartphone users across all age groups say they regularly turn off their phones to avoid the stress. But a majority of users say smartphones are worth the stress because they make it easier to "stay in touch with friends, family, and current events."

Texting also is popular among young Americans, with 62% of respondents under 30 saying they prefer to communicate with friends and family via text. Only 34% said they would prefer to talk over the phone. That's a far cry from the 73% of adults over age 65 who prefer to communicate by phone. 

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Young smartphone users are big on apps as well. Half of those in the under-30 cohort use Snapchat and Instagram multiple times each week. Young people are also more likely than other age group to purchase apps or in-app content, although only about one-third of those under 30 do so several times each month (Lee, Vox, 10/11). 

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