Teens Are Texting More Than Ever: Pew
March 20, 2012

Teens Are Texting More Than Ever: Pew

A new Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, called the Teens and Digital Citizenship Survey, finds that teens are texting more and more these days.

The survey asked 799 teens aged 12 to 17 about their cellphone use and habits. They found that teen use of texting has increased from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen texter. Texting is especially up among older teens, boys and blacks, according to the survey. “Older girls”, says the survey, “remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.”

Of all teenagers, 63 percent exchange text messages daily, surpassing their other forms of communication. The survey says 39 percent call by cellphone daily, 35 percent said they socialize face-to-face outside of school, 29 percent use social networking sites, 22 percent instant message, 19 percent talk on landlines and 6 percent email.

Talking on landlines and cellphones has fallen in popularity as the popularity of cellphones and smartphones has increased. The survey found that landline use has fallen in half since 2009. According to the survey 14 percent of all teens talk daily with friends on a landline. Thirty-one percent of teens claim to never talk on a landline or report they cannot do so. While 26 percent of all teens claim to talk daily with friends on cellphone which is down from the 38 percent of teens who claimed to talk daily in 2009.

Interestingly texting and talking go hand in hand. The survey finds that “The heaviest texters (those who exchange more than 100 texts a day) are much more likely than lighter texters to say that they talk on their cellphone daily.” Of heavy texters, 69 percent talk on their cellphones daily while only 46 percent of medium texters do and 43 percent of light texters, those who exchange 0 to 20 texts a day.

As to what type of phone teens own, the survey found that 23 percent of all those 12 to 17 admit they own a smartphone. Older teens have the highest ownership of smartphones, of those 14 to 17 31 percent have a smartphone, in contrast the youngest users have the lowest smartphone ownership rate at only 8 percent for those aged 12 to 13.

It was also found that 77 percent of teens, aged 12 to 17, own cellphones. With the numbers for younger teens dropping since 2009. According to the survey 57 percent of younger teens owned cellphones in 2011 while 66 percent owned a cellphone in 2009.