Teen Texting Sees Sharp Increase


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Cell-phone texting has become the preferred form of basic communication between teens and their friends, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Daily text messaging among teens has increased in the past 18 months from 38 percent of teens texting friends daily in 2008, to 54 percent of teens texting daily in 2009. The average teen sends and receives 50 or more messages per day, or 1,500 per month.

Boys typically send and receive 30 texts a day while girls send and receive 80 messages per day. Older girls are the most active texters, with 14-17 year old girls sending 100 or more messages a day or more than 3,000 texts a month.

While many teens are avid texters, a small number are not. One-fifth of teen texters (22%) send and receive just 1-10 texts a day or 30-300 a month.


"The widespread availability of unlimited texting plans has transformed communication patterns of American teens, many of whom now conduct substantial portions of their daily conversations with their friends via texting," said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and a co-author on the report.

"But what's important to remember here is that this is a shift in the location and style of teens' communication with friends, not necessarily a radical change or expansion of it."

The survey found 75 percent of those ages 12-17 now have cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. These cell phone users place calls on their phone much less often than texting. On average tens make about five calls per day on cells. They still to prefer to deal with their parents by calling them instead of texting them.

Pew also found teens uses their cells for a variety of activities besides texting and talking including:


  •     83% use their phones to take pictures.
  •     64% share pictures with others.
  •     60% play music on their phones.
  •     46% play games on their phones.
  •     32% exchange videos on their phones.
  •     31% exchange instant messages on their phones.
  •     27% go online for general purposes on their phones.
  •     23% access social networking sites on their phones.
  •     21% use email on their phones.
  •     11% purchase things via their phones.