Text messaging has skyrocketed among U.S. teenagers, with a third of those surveyed sending more than 100 text messages a day, the Pew Internet & American Life Project shared in an April 20 report.
In September 2009, 54 percent of teenagers surveyed sent text messages daily, which was up from 38 percent 18 months earlier. Additionally, 50 percent of teenagers surveyed were found to send 50 or more texts a day-or 1,500 texts per month-while one in three sent more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 a month.
While boys average 20 texts a day, among teenage girls ages 14 to 17, 100 messages a day was the average.
"They are using [mobile phones] to share stories and photos. They are using them to entertain themselves when they are bored. They are using them to microcoordinate their schedules and face-to-face gather??Ãings. And some are using their phones to go online to browse the Web, to participate in social networks and check their e-mails," the Pew report said.
In addition, "This is the sunny side of the story. Teens are also using mobile phones to cheat on tests and to skirt rules at school and with their parents. Some are using their phones to send sexts, others are sleeping with buzzing phones under their pillows, and some are using their phones to place calls and text while driving," the report said.
Text messaging among American teenagers is also far outpacing teenagers abroad. While 72 percent of young people in the United States typically send and receive 50 texts a day, that figure drops to 15 to 20 texts among Korean, Danish or Norwegian teenagers, according to Pew.
"Changes in subscription packages have encouraged widespread texting among U.S. teens and has made them into world-class texters," Pew said.
While "all you can eat" mobile subscriptions are enormously popular-and big enablers of teenagers' texting habits-the popularity of devices such as the Apple iPhone has challenged mobile operators' ability to meet the growing traffic of their networks, and several have suggested that variable network pricing will soon have to replace many no-limit plans.
With increased mobile phone use, stated the report, comes access to video sharing and recording, as well as to the Internet, which makes discussions about safety issues and potential regulations necessary. Parents should be equipped with tools for regulating their children's use of mobile devices.
"Understanding how youth use mobile phones is vital to creating effective policy based on the reality of how the technology is used. It is also important to understand how telecommunications company policies and pricing affect how teens and parents use their phones," the report stated.
Pew added that, for all the texting teenagers do, when it comes to trying to reach parents, voice calling tends to be their mobile mode of choice.