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Parents with Kids at Home Overindex in Smartphone Usage

Mobile device ownership higher among parents with children under 18

Smartphone usage will reach just over half the US population by the end of this year, eMarketer estimates. But parents are well ahead of the game when it comes to adopting the devices, research suggests.

According to November 2013 data from a Scout GPS survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 57% of US internet users surveyed had a smartphone. But smartphone penetration among parents of children under 18 was significantly higher, at 74% or above, depending on the age of the child.

The highest smartphone penetration was reported by parents with kids ages 3 to 5, 84% of whom had a smartphone.

Parents also overindexed on overall ownership of any mobile device, as well as tablet ownership. When it came to tablets, parents were up to 57.5% more likely than the general population to own one.

An earlier survey, also from Harris Interactive, reported similar penetration results comparing parents and nonparents. The poll also queried smartphone users about their content activities, and while the basics of calling and texting showed little variance between the two groups, other activities were generally more popular with parents.

Parents of children under 18 were 5 percentage points more likely than nonparents to use email on their smartphone, 12 points more likely to use social media as well as to purchase goods or services, and 9 points more likely to play games.

And while US parents with smartphones were 5 percentage points more likely to take photos than their child-free counterparts, photo-sharing habits were identical across the two groups.

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