OMG! As if you needed a study to know this:
Among teenagers, cell phone texting is now clearly, officially, poll-proven, like the most preferred method of electronic communication among friends, with talking on the phone a close second.
This 4-1-1 (bit of information) comes from a report, “Teens and Mobile Phones,” released Tuesday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center’s Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The 94-page report — a survey of 800 teens between 12 and 17, and another of their parents — is jammed with more numbers than a teen’s telephone contact list, dissecting virtually every aspect of teen phone usage.
For example: Teens, on average, make or receive five telephone calls each day (white teens, four; Hispanic teens, five; black teens, seven).
But a third of all teens send more than 100 texts a day; 14 percent more than 200.
“Fully two-thirds of teen texters say they are more likely to use their cell phones to text their friends than talk to them by cell phone,” it concludes.
Suprising? Hardly. But there’s also a matter of degree.
“For a lot of teens, having a cell phone is like carrying around these floating worlds of friends with them in their daily lives and even late at night,” said researcher Scott Campbell, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Michigan who, incidentally, received his master’s at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Ph.D. at the University of Kansas.
“Teens will actually sleep with their phone or keep it at their beds.”
Not all, just four out of five.
Three of every four 12-to-17-year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. Two of every three teens got their cells before age 12.
When it comes to texting or talking, girls rule. Again, more with the obvious:
•Girls ages 14 to 17 average 100 or more messages daily, or about 3,000 a month. Of all ages, they send or receive an average of 80 texts every day; boys, 30.
•Sixty-four percent of all teen cell phone users say they have texted in class; 24 percent have made calls during class.
•This despite 62 percent saying they can have cell phones in school, but not in class, and 24 percent attending schools that ban cell phones, period.
And here are numbers from the parents’ survey:
•Sixty-two percent have taken the phones away as punishment, but 94 percent, especially the parents of girls, feel better knowing their children have cells to stay in touch.
Pew senior research specialist Amanda Lenhart said everyone loves the instant connection, the feel of safety it provides. Teens talk about feeling a bit more liberated because they know that, in an emergency, someone can be reached immediately.
“But teens also talk about the burden of the expectation of being constantly connected,” Lenhart said, “because you’re connected to your parents by this electronic leash, or your friends’ expectations that you are supposed to respond no matter what time of day or night.
“We asked, ‘Why don’t you just turn off your phones?’ We got these looks of horror. They couldn’t conceive of turning off their phones.”
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