Friday, September 3, 2010

Teens aren't the only ones who are text happy

OK, for all of you adults who bemoan excessive texting by your teenage offspring, stop pointing the finger at them and reflect on just how much texting you are doing by responding.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life project finds that more than 72 percent of adult cell phone users are sending and receiving text messages. That's up from 65 percent in September 2009. (That's right, just one year ago.) It's also just 15 percent behind the number of teenage mobile phone users who text.

Mind you, teens still have us way beat on volume of texts created: They send an average of 50 (50!) text messages per day, which is about 10 times what adults send.

I'm kind of curious as to the intersection of the data. In other words, I'd love to see whether texting among parents (who are probably interacting with their teenage kids) is higher than among adults who don't have any teens in their house. The data shows that parents ARE more likely to have a mobile phone in the first place: 90 percent of U.S. adults who are parent  have a cell phone, versus 72 percent of those who do not have children under the age of 18 living at home.

And, to those of you who wail about the lack of communication with your teenagers, look at it this way: Maybe you're actually "talking" to them via mobile phone more than you would otherwise.

Other tidbits from this report that I found scintillating:

  • Adult mobile phone users who text also use their phone pretty heavily for calls (I'm betting the same is not true for teenagers)
  • 65 percent of U.S. adults with a mobile phone sleep with it turned on or next to their bed

The survey was a telephone poll taken in May, focused on adults 18 years old and up. The full report is called "Cell Phones and American Adults."