Survey: 96 Percent Of Young Adults Own Cellphones

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a new survey on the gadgets Americans own and how they use them. Almost all young Americans own cellphones and seniors are increasingly going digital.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Let's talk next about a new study on how people in this country connect with each other. The Pew Internet and American Life Project has been looking into the relationship between Americans and their gadgets.

M: When I was driving in the cab over here, my cab driver was listening to NPR on the radio, talking to one of his friends on his Bluetooth and then texting someone else with his other cell phone.

INSKEEP: When he should just be listening to NPR for safety, safety. That's Aaron Smith, author of the Pew study.

M: My personal favorite statistic from our research is that 96 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own a cell phone. And you know, you can't get 96 percent of any group to agree on anything.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Among Americans of all ages, mobile is in - people are buying more laptops and smart phones and fewer desktop computers. And more and more seniors, people 65 and older, are going digital.

M: Seniors, for instance, are the fastest growing group in terms of their use of social networking sites. And we also found, in this study, that six in 10 seniors own a cell phone.

INSKEEP, OK, the study says that the typical American under the age of 45 owns four gadgets - things like smart-phones, Mp3 players, and E-book readers like the iPad or the Kindle. Smith says these new-media gadgets are continuing to change the way Americans live.

M: You've got a few minutes free, you can text your friends, you can call someone, you can play a game on your cell phone, you can listen to music on your iPod. So, you know, the times where you were just, you know, sitting at a table, you know, kind of doing nothing or just contemplating the world, I think are becoming fewer and further between as more of these technologies permeate our daily lives.

MONTAGNE: No more contemplating. Consumers have an array of high-tech choices. And that has sent traditional media outlets reeling in recent years. But Smith says the news for journalists is not all bad.

M: People are actually consuming as much if not more news content on a daily basis than they've done really at any point in the recent past. And what they're doing is they're adding new technologies into the mix. What we see in our research is people getting a lot of news, but in ways that are different and new from what we saw as of a few years ago.

INSKEEP: Aaron Smith says the challenge is how to capitalize on these trends.

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