How Teens Communicate Online And Off

    February 22, 2007

A new Harris Interactive poll called YouthQuery examines the way teens communicate using a variety of technologies such as the Internet, cell phone, text messaging and other forms of communication. According to Suzanne Martin, PhD, Youth and Education Researcher at Harris Interactive, “Teens utilize different modes of communication in different social contexts".

When the subject of communication is serious such as breaking up with someone or arguing 67 percent of teens said they would not do so using the phone, email, instant messaging, or social networking sites.

When choosing a form of communication to talk to a friend about something important 34 percent of teens prefer to use cell phones while 23 percent favor a landline. If its apology related 22 percent of teens prefer to use their cell phone while 20 percent use a landline.

Teens are cautious when it comes to using certain communication tools to discuss personal issues. Around one in three teens prefer not to use phones, email, or instant messaging when gossiping or having private conversations. Teens feel more at ease discussing sensitive subjects using instant messaging (29%), than cell phones (14%), text messaging (11%) and social networking sites (10%).

The most popular form of general communication for teens on a daily basis is the cell phone. Social networking sites and landline phones are also widely used to stay in touch. Cell phones are the top choice when it comes to planning to meet friends with 36 percent favoring their cell.

Cell phones prove to be the most vital way for teens to communicate with 29 percent saying they would feel that they would miss out on activities with friends if they did not have a cell phone.

The Harris Interactive YouthQuery was conducted online in the US between December 14 and 22, 2006 among a nationwide cross section of 1,726 youth.

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