More Adults Adopt Texting To Contact Kids

    October 23, 2008

Texting has been commonplace among younger people for a while but it is now leading to older adults adopting the practice as well, according to new research from Sprint.

The number of adults who are texting has increased from just two years ago, when a Pew Research study found that 13 percent of adults ages 50-64 used the text messaging function on their mobile phone. Sprint found that now 20 percent of adults ages 55-64 send text messages.

More Adults Adopt Texting To Contact Kids

The majority (76%) of adults ages 55-64 who are texting are sending messages to their children. According to 2007 Census Bureau data, 57 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds have children ages 18-24.

According to a survey by Opinion Research Corp, a text message is significantly more likely to get a quick response than voice mail. Those under 30 are four times more likely to respond within minutes to a text message compared to a voice mail, and 91 percent respond to a text message within one hour. Adults 30 and older are also twice as likely to respond within minutes to a text message as compared to a voice message.

Among adults under 30, 78 percent say they respond immediately or within minutes to a text message. Over half (54%) of adults 55-64 said they respond to text messages immediately or in minutes.

Nearly all (96%) of those under 30 who are texting send messages to their friends, and 51 percent text their parents. The texting habits of adults 55-64 is opposite with 76 percent texting their kids and only 56 percent texting their friends.

"This research confirms the anecdotal information we’ve been hearing from parents: Their children respond faster to text messages than to voice messages," Kim Dixon, senior vice president of retail for Sprint. "But, the research also indicates that children are more likely to get a quick response from their parents using text messaging.

"Given the high response rate to ‘text message your children’ among parental age groups (68 percent among 45- to 54-year-olds, 76 percent among 55- to 64-year-olds and 65 percent among those 65 and older), it is pretty clear that the increasing rate of text adoption in recent years is fueled by our children altering how we stay in touch with them."