Sunday, March 20, 2011

Teens and Mobile Phones Addiction

According to the Pew Research Center daily messaging among teens has increased over the past 24 months from 38% of teens texting friends in 2008 to 54% of teens texting on a daily basis in 2010. The increase isn't in frequency alone, but also in the quantity. 50% of teens say they are sending more than 50 texts per day (or 1500 per month) and a full 1/3 are sending 100 texts per day (or more than 3000 per month).

As would be expected, older teen girls (14 to 17) are leading the charge on texting -- averaging100 texts per day for the cohort interviewed. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting -- averaging about 20 per day total. Texting has become the primary way teens reach friends,  surpassing face-to-face contact, instant messaging, and voice calling.

What does all of this texting mean for the development of social skills, especially the art of conversation? If most of teen contact is via text, then they are deprived of vital opportunities to learn non-verbal communication, sarcasm, innuendo, etc. Also missing is prosody -- or the meaning of tone of voice (emphasis on a syllable or tone related to an issue or topic). What this means is teens are actually developing one small "band" of communication that will not serve them in complex group interactions or in the work force down the road.

How about a limit on texting? 20 per day? Thoughts?

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