Teens might appear addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Skype, but according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, texting ranks as the number one mode of communication among them. Kids between the ages of 12 and 17 text a median of 60 times a day -- up from 50 in 2009.
To conduct the study, researchers surveyed almost 800 teenagers between April and July 2011 and conducted a series of focus groups.
According to the report, girls take the lead as most frequent texters (a median of 100 a day, compared to 50 for boys), but boys were responsible for a greater increase from 2009 -- they jumped from 30 texts daily.
About 77% of teens own a cellphone with one in four owning a smartphone. And most are texting. 75% said they actively text; 63% said they text everyday. Their voices aren't as active as their thumbs, however, only 39% make calls daily. Those who texted the most were more likely to talk on the phone as well.
Less than half of those surveyed, 35%, say they socialize face-to-face with friends outside of school.
The study is on par with a Nielsen survey conducted in December which found that teens send an average of 3,417 texts a month, 7 times an hour. Girls were the most verbose in their findings too -- they send 3,952 messages per month compared to 2,815 by the boys.
As for parents, mom and pediatrician Dr. Claire McCarthy, articulated both the concerns and benefits of kids using cellphones.
There are dangers and downsides. We've learned to manage most of those with safety and usage rules (no texting while walking on the street and phone off at bedtime, for example.) We talk about bullying and other ways phone usage can go bad.
But we've also found that there are real upsides. The convenience and safety stuff is huge, but the ability to connect is really wonderful too.