Joho the Blog » Those darn kids and their texts — and their not geolocating

Those darn kids and their texts — and their not geolocating

Here’s Pew Internet’s bulleted summary of a new survey of teens and their texts:

  • Texting continues to cement its place as the central communications tool of teen social life – the frequency and overall volume of texts are both up since 2009.

  • Voice calling on both mobile phones and (in some circumstances) on landlines is in decline.

  • The heaviest texters are also the heaviest talkers. Teens who text the most are also the most likely to make calls, talk with people face to face outside of school, and use social network sites.

  • One quarter of teens have a smartphone. The oldest teens (ages 16 and 17) are the most likely to report smartphone ownership. Otherwise, there are few demographic differences between smartphone and regular cell phone owners.

  • Smartphone owners are more likely than regular phone owners to: use tablets to go online; use a location-based service on their cell phone, use social media sites, send and receive texts on a typical day.

  • Only a small fraction of American teens use location-based services on their cell phones – 6% of teens 12-17 use the services to share their location.

I found that last bullet surprising. Are the teens showing surprisingly mature caution, or did they just not find the “on” button yet?

One Response to “Those darn kids and their texts — and their not geolocating”

  1. I don’t know whether it’s caution, or just concern over a combination of cost and battery life issues. As far as battery life is concerned: the buzz from SXSW seems to have been that location-based services are lovely but they eat your battery right up. From a cost perspective, all I can say is that at least my (teenage) daughters are on a plan bought by their miserly dad under which they can (and do) text to their heart’s content, but are very limited in their monthly data allotment. (They could exceed the allotment, but then I’d claw back the overage from them.)

    Or maybe it’s a lack of time? Seems like the allure of location-based services lies in serendipity: being in a place with free time on your hands and no strong plan for spending it. That sounds like something that would be more common for college students (and even more so young graduates) than for high school students, especially during the school year.

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