Third of US teens SMS 100 times a day

Third of US teens SMS 100 times a day

Living in a box

Third of US teens SMS 100 times a day

Texting today has eclipsed phone calls, social networking and even face-to-face interaction. Getty Images

The study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which offers a glimpse into teen culture and communication, found that texting has risen dramatically even since 2008, eclipsing cell phone calls, social networking and talking face-to-face.

The Pew Research Centre said that three-fourth of all young people between the ages of 12 and 17 now own cell phones and of those that do, girls typically send or receive 80 text messages per day and boys, 30 per day.

“Texting is today the central hub of communication in the lives of teens, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months,” Pew researcher Amanda Lenhart said, attributing the rise in part to plans that allow unlimited texting.

The study’s authors also say that, unlike phone calls, text messaging can be quietly carried out under the noses of parents, teachers or other authorities and, unlike computers, it can be done anywhere.

Text messaging has become so much a part of teenagers’ lives that 87 per cent of those who text said that they sleep with, or next to, their phone.

Study author Scott Campbell said focus groups conducted by Pew also offer insight into the subtleties of teen communication and culture, revealing for example that, if a girl puts a period at the end of a text message (to another girl) then it comes across as she’s mad, which explains the prevalence of smiley emoticons.