Want your kid to talk to you? Try texting
The average teen sends and receives more than 3,000 texts per month.
Who says teens don't communicate?
They do. They just don't do it out loud.
Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 send and receive an average of 3,339 texts a month, according to research by the Nielsen Co. That's about six for every hour they're awake.
If your head is spinning, you may want to sit down. Teen boys apparently send and receive an impressive 2,539 texts a month, but the report reveals teen girls are almost twice as busy, sending and receiving an average of 4,050 texts per month.
More than 4,000 texts. PER MONTH.
Young adults ages 18 to 24 come in a distant second, exchanging 1,630 texts per month. That's about three texts per hour.
While the numbers -- based on analysis of monthly cell phone bills of 60,000 mobile subscribers for the second quarter of 2010 and survey data from more than 3,000 teens -- are staggering, they're not surprising.
People love to text. Some might argue that we're addicted. We do it everywhere, all day long -- at work, at school, at church, at the beach, in the woods, in restaurants, in stores, while we're crossing the street at busy intersections.
We even do it while we're driving. We can't stop.
And it kind of is.
Texts are a quiet, portable, instant gratification way to talk to friends. You don't have to pause the TV show you're watching to stay in a conversation, and you don't have to sit at your computer.
Despite lighter and smaller laptops, teens still prefer to use their phones to communicate, which explains why the first thing they look for in a cell phone is a QWERTY keyboard.
The popularity of texting has made simply talking on the phone almost as outdated as the rotary dial. ("The what?" asks the 14-year-old you sent this article to.)
Voice activity is down 14% among teens, who average about 646 minutes of talk time a month. Teen girls talk more than teen boys; 753 minutes vs. 525 minutes.
The only group that makes fewer phone calls than teens is adults 55 and over. What are they doing, writing letters? ("Writing what?")
Along with texting, teens love all the multimedia capabilities their phones provide, and their data usage proves it. While data usage by teens does not reach levels among young adults, it has increased substantially versus the second quarter of last year, from 14 MB to 62 MB.
This fourfold increase is the largest jump among all age groups. Much of the boost is led by teen boys, who are more gadget-savvy and consume 75 MB of data, versus 17 MB in Q2 last year. Teen girls use about 53 MB of data, compared with 11 MB a year ago.
Teens are not only using more data, but they are also downloading a wider range of applications. Software downloads among teen subscribers who use apps jumped from 26% to 38%. This includes popular apps such as Facebook, Pandora and YouTube.
Usage of the mobile Web has also surpassed activity on pre-installed games, ringtone downloads and instant messaging. Other mobile activities like mail and text alerts have also seen significant growth.
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