Mobile Phones Bridging the Digital Divide for Teens in the US?

Katie Brown, Scott Campbell, Richard Ling

    Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In 2009, just 27% of American teens with mobile phones reported using their devices to access the internet. However, teens from lower income families and minority teens were significantly more likely to use their phones to go online. Together, these surprising trends suggest a potential narrowing of the digital divide, offering internet access to those without other means of going online. This is an important move, as, in today’s society, internet access is central to active citizenship in general and teen citizenship in particular. Yet the cost of this move toward equal access is absorbed by those who can least afford it: Teenagers from low income households. Using survey and focus group data from a national study of “Teens and Mobile Phone Use” (released by Pew and the University of Michigan in 2010), this article helps identify and explain this and other emergent trends for teen use (as well as non-use) of the internet through mobile phones.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFuture Internet 2011
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)144 - 158
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Digital divide
    • Internet
    • mobile communication
    • Cell phone
    • teens
    • texting


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