Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Teens still rule, but 72 percent of American adults now texting

The number of Americans under the sway of the text message has increased again, says the latest Pew Resarch study called "Cell phones and American Adults." Still, as you might expect, adults still trail teens by a the considerable number.

The rise, year-over-year, is quite interesting. About 72 percent of adult cell phone users send and receive text messages; last year at the same time the number was 65 percent. Meanwhile, 87 percent of teen cell phone users text, but the percentage hides a much higher number: teens send and receive about 50 SMS messages per day, while adults send and receive five times less, or about 10.

125x125Senior researcher Amanda Lenhart, who wrote the report, said the following: "We’ve reached a point where enough other people are texting that (adults) are drawn into using it because they can finally use it to communicate with a substantial number of their friends and family." In other words, we've reached critical mass as far as text messaging goes.

Additionally, 65 percent of adults admit to sleeping with their cell phone next to their bed. This is despite the fact that more than two in five (42 percent) cell phone owners say they feel annoyed when a call or text interrupts them. However, 91 percent say their cell phones mkae them feel safer, while 88 percent say cell phones help them connect to friends and family to arrange plans. Both of those points should be remembered by those who continue to eschew cell phones; in addition to safety, the second item was cited last year as a way that cell phone "refuseniks" complicate their own lives.

Phones are still being used as phones, with average adult cell phone owner makes or receiving around 5 voice calls a day. This is despite the fact that cell phone data use has climbed while voice calling has dropped (though indeed, SMS messages don't use your data connection).

Still more interesting bullet points:
  • 5 percent of all adult texters send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month. Fully 15 percent of teens 12-17, and 18 percent of adults 18 to 24 text message more than 200 messages a day, while just 3 percent of adults 25 to 29 do the same.
  • Heavy adult texters – those who send and receive more than 50 texts day -- also tend to be heavy users of voice calling. Light texters, who exchange 1 to 10 texts a day, do not make up for less texting by calling more. Instead, they are light users of both calling and texting.
  • 57 percent of adults with cell phones have received unwanted or spam text messages on their phone. (this is most annoying because those without unlimited SMS plans are basically paying for this spam)
  • 90 percent of parents are more likely to have a cell phone than adults without children under 18 at home (78 percent).
  • 72 percent of parents have slept with their phone, compared to 62 percent of non-parents.
  • African American and English-speaking Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone, with 87 percent of African-Americans and English speaking Hispanics owning a phone, compared with 80 percent of whites.
Unfortunately, a lot of text messaging takes place behind the wheel, whether it's an adult or a teen.  A recent study by Bohan Advertising noted that nearly half of mothers admit to texting not just while driving, but when their children were in the car.

The study data was collected from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, from a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. The teen data came from a study also done by Pew Research, released late last year.

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