Americans Connected 2:38 Minutes a Day to Mobile Devices

Posted on: 04/5/13 4:14 AM | by Jonathan McKee

With the rise in mobile phone and app use, we’ve been seeing a bunch of numbers floating around lately about how much time Americans are actually spending connected to these mobile devices. Well, Flurry just came out with a brand new report measuring the activity of more than 1 billion mobile IOS and Android devices per month. The findings are intriguing Continue reading “Americans Connected 2:38 Minutes a Day to Mobile Devices”

Mobile Internet Users

Posted on: 03/19/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Pew Research just released a brand new report last week, Teens and Technology 2013. The study found a growing number of teenagers to be smartphone owners, and a rise in the percentage of “cell mostly” internet users.

I like the report’s conclusions… but I can’t help wonder if their numbers are a little low.

Pew’s numbers always seem a little lower. I’m curious about their sampling. For example, this Teens and Technology 2013 study was based on Continue reading “Mobile Internet Users”

Teenagers and Their Screens

Posted on: 02/6/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Which screens are teenagers clocking the most time in front of?

The answer has always overwhelmingly been the traditional TV. But, as a guy who spends a few hours a day researching youth culture, I’m not sure that it’s going to stay that way.

Each year new studies emerge revealing the growing popularity of other screens like the laptop, the smartphone and the tablet. This new Harris Interactive study, for example, shows 30% of young people age 18-34 favoring TV as their primary source of news and entertainment, with a very close 28% favoring the laptop computer.

The race is getting closer.

But let’s be clear, these studies vary depending on how you ask the question. For example, in the end of 2011 I blogged about a study where teenagers were asked, “What would you rather give up, T.V. or internet?” A slight majority said they’d give up TV. But if you look at the most recent Nielsen reports, you’ll find that young people (even as young as 12-17) are clocking more butt time in front of a TV than in front of a computer.

So which is it? And is perception different than actual time spent?

As a parent of three teenagers with iPhones, I can’t help but observe a huge increase in mobile app time. In my house, my kids’ daily smart phone time probably exceeds their daily TV time. But my kids don’t watch much TV, and I don’t want to assume that my home is an accurate representation of America.

It’s funny to look at all the different numbers various studies come up with. Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to believe. I’ve learned to look for common trends in reports. For example, most reports agree that smart phone ownership is growing, which is boosting the amount of time that kids are using social media. But most reports also agree about the draw of the TV. What differs is exactly how many hours young people are spending on each medium.

It’s important to notice these differences among age groups. For example, if you look at most studies about 18-25-year olds, they don’t seem to watch as much traditional TV as other age groups. Maybe this is because a huge chunk of them are in a college dorm without cable or Satellite. My 19-year-old son lives in a dorm at Azusa Pacific University. When he watches TV, he’s usually streaming Hulu or Netflix on his laptop. Compare that to his grandpa who watches almost all television via DVR on his TV.

The one source that no ones seems to doubt is the Kaiser studies. In 2010 Kaiser released their most recent “entertainment media” study, a study released every 5 years and cited by almost every periodical, newspaper and medical journal. This report revealed that the average 8-18-year old in America watches over 4 hours of TV a day, listens to over 2 hours of music and spends over an hour online.

The only problem? The report only comes out every 5 years!!!

So the last numbers we have are from the 2010 report, which are 2009 numbers. That’s 4 years ago. Back then, Pinterest wasn’t even on the map, and most teenagers didn’t own smartphones (now 74% of 25-34-year olds and 58% of 13-17-year olds do). What will the 2015 report reveal?

One thing for sure… and I’m sure no one would argue. Young people sure spend a lot of time in front of screens!

What about you?
What do you observe out of your kids?

Does TV consume more time from your teenagers than other screens?

But Mom, It’s Only 9PM…

Posted on: 03/9/11 2:14 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This morning I was talking with my 15-year-old daughter Alyssa on the way to school about a friend of hers who she’s been praying for. “She’s always in a bad mood,” Alyssa ranted. “She’s got stressful stuff going on at home and she never gets enough sleep.”

Even though I had a good guess as to why, I asked Alyssa, “Why isn’t she getting enough sleep?”

“Because she stays up late texting a guy every night. He’ll text her in the middle of the night. She doesn’t ever turn off her cell phone.”

Alyssa’s friend isn’t alone. As a matter of fact, her friend is in the majority. According to a brand new study by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • The average hours of sleep per night for 13-18-year-olds is 7 hours and 26 minutes, well short of the 9 hours and 15 minutes recommended by experts.
  • 72% of this age group text the hour before bedtime (which the report related to not getting good or enough sleep)
  • 28% of this age group leave their phone ringers on all night in their bedroom (that doesn’t include vibrate)(this group reports getting much less sleep)
  • Average bedtime for this age group is 11:02 p.m.
  • 13-18-year-olds drink, on average, 3.1 caffeinated beverages a day to try to cope with their lack of sleep.

I’ll be honest. Helping our kids get good sleep isn’t easy. I’m not talking about enforcing a “cell phone is off at night” policy -that’s simple. Parent need to just lay down the law (and frankly, if parents find it difficult to enforce, then they might need to just collect cell phones before bedtime).

The difficulty I’m talking about is dealing with how busy our kids are today and the high expectations from school, sports and every facet of their lives. I know Alyssa really struggles to get it all done and still get to bed at a good time: sports/exercise, piano, homework, family dinners, church, reading her Bible… it’s a lot to cram in. Alyssa and I actually sat down this past weekend and tried to schedule some of this stuff and we came up with the tough conclusion that she might have to quit piano for a while.

These are tough choices to make. Alyssa (15), is getting old enough to start making some of these choices on her own. Lori and I are trying to help “think with her” (those who’ve attended my parenting seminars recognize that little catch phrase) through this process.

As my daughter finished telling me about her friend and got out of the car this morning, I asked her. “So does that mean you’re glad that Mom and I make you guys turn off your cell phones before you go to bed?”

She gave me an evil stare (like, “Shut up, I know you’re right. Don’t gloat in it!”)   🙂

AN ASIDE: My parenting book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent (released at the end of this month) is probably going to be available for pre-sale next week on

Teens Texting Even More

Posted on: 10/20/10 1:34 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The popularity of texting is rising, and the amount of American teenagers who are texting just keeps increasing. Teenage girls take the lead with an average of 4,050 texts per month, according to the most recent Nielson report.

Wow! That’s a lot of…



what u doin?


Me 2

c u l8r

Deep conversations!

My 15-year-old does plenty of this. I don’t think she’s broke the 2500 texts in a month mark… which is really comforting to me, but probably distressing to some mom across the country whose daughter is at the 6,000+ mark, making up for my daughter’s shortfall!

Nielson notes an 8 percent jump in texting in the last year (using data from monthly cell bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers as well as survey data from over 3,000 teens.). Here’s a glimpse:

If it seems like American teens are texting all the time, it’s probably because on average they’re sending or receiving 3,339 texts a month. That’s more than six per every hour they’re awake – an 8 percent jump from last year… No one texts more than teens (age 13-17), especially teen females, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Teen males also outpace other male age groups, sending and receiving an average of 2,539 texts. Young adults (age 18-24) come in a distant second, exchanging 1,630 texts per month (a comparatively meager three texts per hour).

It’s funny to see that 65+ mark not even registering. I know there’s gotta be something there, because my dad (69 this year) sends a few texts a month– not many, but a few. He’ll receive texts from my kids and text back. I don’t know how common that is (my kids just have a rockin grampa!!!)

Click here for the whole report from Nielson.

Adult Texting on the Rise

Posted on: 09/3/10 11:02 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Maybe it’s because we’ve finally figured out how to type on that miniature keyboard… or maybe it’s just so we can talk with our kids. Either way, adults are using their cell phones for texting more than ever before.

72% of adults send and receive texts now, according to a September 2, 2010 Pew Internet study. This is up almost 10% from last year.

Do adults text as much as teenagers? Ha! Nope. Teenagers text about 5 times as many messages per day as adults… and teenage girls age 14-17, who, as I reported in this blog a while back, average 100 messages a day, text 10 times as many messages as adults. (I know… I have one kid of my own kids in that category!)

Some interesting tidbits from that Pew study:

  • Adults who text typically send and receive a median of 10 texts a day; teens who text send and receive a median of 50 texts per day.
  • 5% of all adult texters send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month.
  • 90% of parents are more likely to have a cell phone than adults without children under 18 at home (78%).
  • 72% parents have slept with their phone on or right next to their bed, compared to 62% of non-parents.
  • The average adult cell phone owner makes and receives around 5 voice calls a day.
  • Women tend to make slightly fewer calls with their cell phones than men
  • African American and English-speaking Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone
  • African American and Hispanic texters typically text more on average than white texters

Click here for the whole report.