Teens prefer texting to talking, study says

Today’s teens would rather text than talk, concludes a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey. From the San Jose Merury News:

Leslie Buentello, 17, was sitting around her house Tuesday evening, more or less doing homework, when a serious case of boredom — compounded by the munchies — set in. So she decided to text her friend Isabel, a classmate at Mount Pleasant High School.

“i bought the marshmallows,” she said, thumbing the keyboard of her cell phone nonchalantly. “hee hee.”

“fersuuuure,” came back the immediate reply. “i m eating my yummy soup.”

“i m eating my chili cheese fries,” Leslie replied. “life is good.”

The survey found that 75 percent of teens own cell phones: 88 percent use their phones to text. One in three texters sends more than 100 text messages a day with girls texting at nearly three times the rate of boys.

The reporter asked Nick Ben, a junior,  if he’d “ever tried to take advantage of his parents’ disdain for texting, asking to stay out late by sending a text he figured they wouldn’t read for hours?”

“Actually, I hadn’t really thought about that,” he said. “But now that you brought it up, it’s a good idea.”

San Jose Unified now lets students carry cell phones but insists that they be turned off in class. That’s hard to enforce as more teens develop the ability to type text messages underneath their desks.

“Not all kids are able to text without looking at their phone,” Nick said sorrowfully, as if he were describing a serious disability. “That’s how some teachers are able to spot texting.”

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I used to read under my desk during class.

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  1. I have firsthand evidence, having watched my teenage daughter and her friend sit in the same room texting one another. I can’t fathom it.

    Clearly I’m getting old.

  2. Talking is more taxing and personally dangerous than texting. A F2F conversation can be daunting to our screen denizens. We need to encourage them to come away from all of their screens. Many students can text through their pants pockets! Can’t wait for the Braille text so that they can read without looking as well.

  3. I’ve never seen a population so addicted (that’s right) to cell phones and text messaging. Set the wayback machine to say 1980 and you would find the only people with a mobile phone were the very rich or persons who had an absolute need for them. Then after a while, pagers came along (which again, very few people had, doctors, lawyers, etc).

    I’ve seen two teens text message each other in a room, and they can go for hours without saying a word (I guess no one taught them communication skills are necessary for landing a job today), but being a jedi master at texting and yapping away on a cell phone doesn’t cut it.

    Also, the behavior of people and their cell phones is completely insane, since I see people talking in grocery store checkout lines (very irritating), and using them during completely inappropriate times, like during a meal (in the old days, you needed to take a phone call, you excused yourself from the table and took the call, then you came back and finished your meal).


  4. Deirdre Mundy says:

    When I was in Highschool, our server had a chat function (like a primitive version of IM). We’s sit next to each other in the computer lab IMing while we worked… because TALKING got you in trouble, but typing didn’t….

  5. I had a long reply to this, but I deleted it. Maybe I’ll blog about it later. But I just want to quickly say that texting should not upset people as much as it seems to. Nor should talking on cell phones. Obviously some will disagree with me and that’s their right. I’m 43 and I use to get upset about it too. But society is changing, so maybe it’s time to change too. I still find it rude to talk on a cell phone when you are in a restaurant or in a crowded area. It’s odd, but I don’t find it half as rude to text while you are talking to someone else as it is to talk on a cellphone while you are talking to someone else…mmm…odd. Oh, and I don’t own a cellphone by the way and I’ve never texted. But I am a full-time non-traditional student at a university about to graduate and this experience has changed my opinions about texting and cellphones.


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