INTERVIEW: 1 in 4 teens are 'cell-mostly' Internet users - KMSP-TV

INTERVIEW: 1 in 4 teens are 'cell-mostly' Internet users

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

As can be expected, more kids than ever are getting their first cell phone in the ages between 12 and 17, but what are the unintended consequence of this?

Many of these phones have web browsers on them, and that means teens have greater access to the Internet and less monitoring by mom and dad.

In the past, kids would get on the home computer and surf the web. Parents could then check the history of their page visits or block certain sites. Now, with smartphones, it's tougher to keep track of what they are looking up.

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds 78 percent of young people, ages 12 to 17, now have cell phones. Nearly half of those are smartphones.

The survey, released Wednesday, finds one in four young people say they are "cell-mostly" Internet users -- a percentage that increases to about half when the phone is a smartphone. That number towers over the only 15 percent of adults who say they access the Internet mostly by cell phone.

The question for parents is how to track and manage what your kids can do on their cell phone? Well, many of these phones have restriction menus allowing parents to block certain functions or mature web sites.

Cell phone providers also have services so parents can see a log of their children's texts. And there are a growing number of smartphone applications that at least claim to give parents some level of control on a phone's web browser, though many tech experts agree that these applications can be hit-or-miss.

Pew researchers have found many parents hesitate to confiscate phones as punishment because they want their kids to stay in contact with them.

"Adults are still trying to work out the appropriate rules for themselves, let alone their children," co-author of this research Mary Madden says. "It's a difficult time to be a parent."

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