OMG! A Third of U.S. Teens Send 100 Texts a Day

Wonder what your teenager is up to?

Well, she's probably texting, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The results of the study, released today, show that half of all American teenagers send 50 or more text messages a day. That's about 1,500 texts a month.

The study found that the number of texting teens continues to grow, as does the number of texts sent each day.

According to the Pew report, in an 18-month span, ending last September, the percentage of all U.S. teenagers texting daily grew from 38% to 54%. Texting has become the main way that teens connect with each other - surpassing e-mail, instant messaging and even face-to-face contact, Pew said.

The survey found that one in three teenagers send more than 100 text messages a day, or 3,000 a month.

Teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 17 are the top texters, averaging 100 messages a day. Younger teenage boys send the least, but still average about 20 texts a day, noted Pew.

"I'm shocked!" joked Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Business Technology Research. "Teens are texting? Maybe I should say, OMG!"

Gottheil said that teens may be turning to text messaging in droves not as just another means of digital communication but because it's a different kind of communication.

"A phone call is a back-and-forth. But it's impossible to invest just 10 seconds just to say 'what a boring class' in a phone call. And e-mails like that would get overwhelming," he explained. "Text has a different use profile. Sometimes it's a conversation, but sometimes it's just a greeting or the sharing of an opinion."

Gottheil added that, while he's no longer in the teen set, he might still text over something small and funny, rather than call or send an email.

"I had a college roommate, um, 35 or so years ago, who liked the band, Cream . If I heard Cream on the radio, I'd text him, but not call or email about it," he added.

So for those of us who no longer need pimple cream on a regular basis, will we be sending 100 texts a day at any point in the near future?

Well, Gottheil said he doubts it. People who are past their teen years and even their 20s are most likely to text with messages like, "I'll be 10 minutes late" or "see you at the restaurant." But the constant cell phone updates may just be left to the teen pack.

The Pew study is based on a 2009 telephone survey of 800 Americans between the ages of 12 and 17.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld . Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

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