Pew Internet report reveals what everyone already knows: Teens like to text

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If you’ve seen a teenager in the last two years, then you’ve seen a teenager texting. Seriously, I can’t think of a situation in the last couple of years where I saw a teenager without a cell phone. The teenagers in my extended family send text messages seemingly all day long, every day. Now the Pew Internet and American Life project has released a pretty comprehensive analysis of teen texting behavior.

According to the report, 88% of teenagers with cell phones are texters. “Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.” I usually send less than 100 texts per month, so these kids are really texting!

Most of the report confirms my anecdotal observations, but there’s some interesting nuance in the findings. Girls text more than boys, and a quarter of teens have made or received a phone call during class. The most surprising item, to me, was that “Teens whose parents limit their texting are also less likely to report being passengers in cars where the driver texted behind the wheel or used the phone in a dangerous manner while driving.”

It always amazes me to watch teens text. The back-and-forth aspect of texting makes certain kinds of conversation more fun (say, flirting); but it’s so inconvenient for any kind of meaningful dialog. I don’t understand why the kids are willing to string out a conversation across minutes and hours, and dozens of texts, when a simple phone call of the same content would last less then five minutes. I guess I’m getting old…

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