2012
03.20

There’s no question the use of connected devices is surging. Tablets, smartphones, and hybrid devices are selling quickly (Apple announced it has already sold 3 million of its new iPad since its launch on March 16). But how is the use of these products affecting us? Are the devices actually changing the way we live?

Perhaps. Data from the Pew Research Center seems to suggest these devices are making us more avid consumers of news. It stands to reason that having access to pretty much every news site in the world at the tips of our fingers might make us more inclined to read news, and the data backs up that assertion.

Pew Research Center says new consumption is a big part of what we do on most consumer electronics devices. Among desktop/laptop owners, 70% receive news on their computers. Half of smartphone owners use their phones for news, and 56% of tablet owners use their devices for news.

But Pew says news consumption on mobile devices is especially heavy. And often, these users are consuming news on multiple devices. For instance, 34%, of desktop/laptop news consumers also get news on a smartphone. And 27% of smartphone news consumers also get news on a tablet.

So using mobile devices appears to correlate with a healthy consumption of news. I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions about whether that means connected-device users are better informed. But it does seem to indicate connected devices have the potential to make news reading more of a habit.

This should be of note to educational institutions. Perhaps reading news on a tablet would make it more exciting for school children. Of course, I don’t believe we should instantly throw out all the text books and worksheets and perform every learning task on a digital screen. But the fact is, mobile devices are increasingly a part of everyday life, and people without access to these devices run the risk of being left behind.

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