Pew: Adults text, but teens do it five times as much

Nearly three-quarters of adult mobile phone users text message, but the average teenager sends and receives five times as many, study finds.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Nearly three-quarters of adult mobile phone users text message others, but the average teenager sends and receives five times as many messages as an adult, Pew Internet found in a recent study.

Currently, 72 percent of adults text message, up from 65 percent back in 2009. But it's teens who are leading the "texting" charge. Pew found that 87 percent of teens text others, averaging a whopping 50 messages sent and received per day. The average adult sends and receives just 10 messages each day.

Teens are also more likely to be "heavy texters." Pew found that while just 5 percent of adults send and receive 200 text messages a day, 15 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 17, and 18 percent of people between 18 and 24, send and receive 200 messages each day. That figure drops off considerably to just 3 percent for adults between 25 and 29.

Parenting plays a role in the viability of mobile phones for adults. Pew found that "parents are more likely to own a cell phone than nonparents." They are also more likely to sleep with a mobile phone on or near the bed.

The safe cell phone?
Pew also looked at the reasons why people get mobile phones, as my colleague Lance Whitney writes about here. According to researchers, 91 percent of Americans say that mobile phones "make them feel safer." Some 88 percent of respondents said that they have a mobile phone, so they can "connect to friends and family to arrange plans."

Pew surveyed more than 2,200 adults and 800 teens for its study.