Looking back over five years of studies, researchers at Pew Internet & American Life Project have discovered that — surprise, surprise — more teens are using cell phones.
In 2004, the foundation discovered that less than half of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 owned a cell. By 2008, cell-packing teens comprised 71 percent. (Over the same period, adult ownership jumped less radically, from 65 to 77 percent.)
Here are some other interesting cell facts from the organization:
–Percentage of cell phone ownership increases with age. Only 52 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds own a mobile, but 82 percent of respondents age 17 own one.
–Wealthier families are more likely to have mobile phones:
- 62 percent of households earning less than $30,000 owned a cell phone, while
- 79 percent of households earning more than $75,000 owned a cell phone
–The most popular cellular activity for teens is messaging:
- 24 percent use IM on a daily basis
- 26 percent send messages daily through social networks like Facebook
- 38 percent send texts daily
- 29 percent spend time with their friends in person
–How often kids use their phones varies by age. Percentage of kids who communicate with friends daily on their cells:
- 70 percent of 17-year-olds (talking)
- 28 percent of 12-year-olds (talking)
- 51 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds (text)
- 25 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds (text)
–Texting is bigger with girls (42 percent) than boys (34 percent)
Maybe none of this comes as any surprise, but it’s still interesting to see the numbers. More teens seem to be using more phones, more often, than ever before.
This probably reads like bad news for certain people — like the Aussie university professor who contends that texting makes kids impatient and impulsive, or school administrators who seem to hate the technology (at least on school grounds). But really, isn’t it time to make peace with mobile phones and figure out how to improve the human experience with them instead of nitpicking these gadgets to death?
As far as I’m concerned, mobile phones (especially smartphones) shouldn’t be vilified. They are simply tools, and like any other tool, their worth is shaped by how they’re used. I have faith that even the naysayers will eventually get this concept, and work with them toward beneficial ends. They’ll have to — because it looks like teens with cell phones are here to stay.