Curbing Kids Online

Almost half of all Internet traffic in Canada is now happening on a mobile device, research firm comScore says. (The Associated Press)

Canadians are on the verge of passing a major mobile milestone, according to measurement firm comScore.

Of all the time Canadians spend online — and it's a lot, ranking second in the world at 33 hours per month — 49 per cent of it is now tied to mobile devices.

It won't be long until Canadians are officially using their smartphones and tablets more than desktop and laptop computers to access the internet.

ComScore says instant messaging apps, social networks and mobile web searches are spurring the growth in phone and tablet usage.

And for some users, mobile access to the internet has become so convenient that it's now the only way they go online.

There are now 1.3 million Canadians that in the course of a month will only use a mobile device to access the internet and won't use a computer at all, said comScore's Paul Rich, a senior account manager.

"Four per cent (of Canadian Internet users) look at online content in a month with (just) their mobile devices — their smartphone or tablet —and they don't access anything on the desktop. That's an emerging shift we're seeing," said Rich.

About 49 per cent of Canadian Internet users go online with both computers and mobile devices, while 47 per cent use computers exclusively, he added.

Canadian women are slightly more likely to only use their phones and tablets to go online — 55 per cent of the country's mobile-only internet users are female — and comScore found they also spent more time using mobile apps and mobile web browsers than men.

As of this June, comScore estimated there were 18 million smartphone owners in Canada, which was up 12 per cent since the same time last year. There were 7.8 million tablet owners, which spiked 37 per cent since June 2013.

Of the Canadians with mobile phones, 78 per cent had a smartphone, which was second highest among the countries comScore researches. In Spain, 83 per cent of mobile phone owners had a smartphone, while it was 75 per cent in the United Kingdom and 73 per cent in the United States.

Rich said the viewing of video on mobile devices has grown significantly in Canada since the summer of 2013.

The number of Canadians who said they streamed video on their phone or tablet at least once a month grew 13 per cent to 7.4 million.

About 2.7 million Canadians said they streamed video on their mobile devices at least once a week, which surged by 30 per cent in a year.

And 1.36 million said they were streaming video content almost every day, which was up by 27 per cent.

Overall, 91 per cent of Canadian Internet users said they watch at least one online video a month on a computer or mobile device.