The popular perception that teens are texting up a storm is more than just perception. It's a fact. The Proactiv set send, on average, six texts an hour for every hour they're awake--an 8 percent increase over last year.
Those were the findings of a Nielsen Company study of data from monthly cell phone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers as well as survey data from over 3,000 teens during the second quarter of this year. "No one texts more than teens (age 13-17), especially teen females, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month," Nielsen wrote in its blog.
"Teen males also outpace other male age groups, sending and receiving an average of 2,539 texts," it continued. "Young adults (age 18-24) come in a distant second, exchanging 1,630 texts per month (a comparatively meager three texts per hour)."
Not surprisingly, Nielsen pollsters were told by 43 percent of the teens surveyed that the number one reason they wanted a mobile phone was for texting. That was followed by safety (35 percent), keeping in touch with friends (34 percent), keeping in touch with family (26 percent) and always being available (22 percent).
As might be expected, all that thumb calisthenics has cut down on teens' gab time. No one but geezers over 55 years old spend less time making voice calls than teens, who averaged 646 minutes during the quarter--a 16 percent dip from last year--with chicks (753 minutes) burning more minutes than dudes (525 minutes).
Teens' data usage is also growing rapidly, Nielsen found. Although still behind young adults in data consumption, usage by the demographic group grew to 64MB in the quarter from 14MB during the same period last year. Data consumption by guys during the period increased to 75MB from 17MB; for gals, to 53MB from 11MB.
Teens are also downloading more apps for their phones, Nielsen discovered. "Software downloads among teen subscribers who use apps enjoyed a solid 12 percent increase in activity versus last year, from 26 to 38 percent," it said. "This includes popular apps such as Facebook, Pandora or YouTube."