- Members of Generation Z said in interviews with Business Insider that the iPhone is by far the most popular personal tech device among their peers.
- Some teens said they try not to include peers who own other kinds of devices on group texts.
- Teens and experts say that iPhone ownership has enabled a culture where teens are constantly doing multiple things at one time.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For teens, iPhones rule the roost.
It is by far the most popular device among teens and members of Generation Z, the tribe of 13- to 21-year-olds that comes after millennials.
About 83% of teens surveyed in Piper Jaffray’s Taking Stock of Teens said they owned an iPhone.
“It’s ridiculous how strong it continues to be,” Mike Olson, a senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, said.
In Business Insider’s survey of 1,884 Americans between the ages of 13 and 21, the iPhone’s dominance was less pronounced, but Apple devices still commanded a strong majority, with 46% of respondents saying they used an iOS phone or tablet to answer the questions. Some 36% used an Android-powered phone or tablet to take the survey, and 11% used a Windows desktop or laptop.
The national poll was conducted on January 11-14 with SurveyMonkey Audience partner Cint on behalf of Business Insider.
Gen Z came of age just as the iPhone effectively became a requirement instead of a luxury. The median age of Gen Z is 17, meaning they were just 10 years old when the iPhone was starting to become adopted by the masses.
The expectation of iPhone ownership is so culturally powerful that those who don’t have the devices are sometimes ostracized.
“If you don’t have an iPhone it’s kind of frowned upon,” Liane Lopez, an 18-year-old high-school senior in New Jersey, told Business Insider.
It must be said that iPhones are not cheap: The least expensive model that Apple sells is the iPhone 7 at $US450, which is not an insignificant expense.
People who don’t have an iPhone are also sometimes seen as “people who want to be different,” said Mason O’Hanlon, a 19-year-old sophomore at Babson College. He estimated that 90% of the people he knows have iPhones.
“If you don’t have an iPhone, you’re not getting added to group chats,” Nicole Jimenez, a 20-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University, said. “That seems really mean, but it’s difficult to group-text people if they don’t have an iPhone.”
Some experts blame the rise of smartphones – and especially the iPhone – for fuelling a pervasive culture of multitasking.
“The ability to participate in most of these activities, with an additional device beyond your TV or your PC, has had a huge impact on multitasking, and therefore consumption of more media or content,” Olson said.
Teens who spoke with Business Insider said they recognised that multitasking was not efficient.
“It doesn’t really work out that well,” Jimenez said, acknowledging that she does it anyway.
Experts say that trying to process two or more things at once may not even really be possible.
“We know from cognitive psychology that the human brain can’t actually consciously focus on more than one thing at a time,” Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at the San Diego State University, told Business Insider. Twenge is the author of “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us,” published in 2018.
Yet teens are compelled to multitask because of the constant barrage of notifications and fear of missing out on what their friends are up to online.
It’s enough for Jess Gallo, a 19-year-old freshman at Montclair State University, to say: “I wish we were less connected.”
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