Teens Hooked on Texting
Sending or receiving an average of 3,339 texts a month, or roughly 1 message for every 10 minutes? Is that even possible? Yes, according to the latest Nielsen study. The company analyzed mobile usage among American teens and some of the figures are simply eye-popping, to say the least. Check this out: • 13-17 year old teen females send and receive 4,050 texts per month. • 18-24 year olds send and receive 1,630 texts per month. Texting currently ranks high among teens’ most preferred mobile activity. In fact, 43 percent admit that it is their main reason for living buying a cell phone in the first place. In 2008, CTIA and Harris Interactive released the results of a study wherein 47 percent of US teens (54 percent if female) claim it would be the end of their life existence social life if they would be deprived of their cell phone, while 57 percent say their mobile phones improved their life in general. Texting has become so much a part of teens’ daily life that nearly half of those surveyed swear they could do it with their eyes closed. Of course, if you ask other teens how much other forms of social media mean to them they would probably say the same thing about instant messaging, Twittering, commenting on YouTube videos of Miley Cyrus, playing games on their mobile phones, ad infinitum, which prompts us to ask: Are teens simply voracious technology users able to multitask with lightning speed or do they simply have too much time on their hands? Teens have become so attached to their mobile buddies and dependent on texting that parents started fearing that it would stunt the development of their social skills? Mere paranoia? Not really. According to the same study by CTIA and Harris Interactive, teens regard texting and talking as the same and spend an equal amount of time with both. In fact, some even prefer texting because it provides an option to multitask, avoid face to face interaction, and because texting is more fun. That is not all. There is also the issue of distracted teenage driving of which texting is one of the major culprits. In a November 2009 report by Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., 1 out of 3 respondents admitted texting while driving. And in the September issue of Seventeen magazine, a survey of 2,000 teen drivers revealed that a third admitted to being involved in a near-crash because they or the driver was distracted. Distracted driving accounts for 16 percent of all fatal crashes.