Insurance News

72 percent of adults are text-messaging now, study says

Posted on: September 8, 2010

More American adults have taken to texting in the past year, but teens still take the crown when it comes to using their phones for text-messaging, with 87 percent of them doing so, according to a new study.

Among adult cell phone users, 72 percent of them now send and receive text messages, up from 65 percent in September 2009, and 58 percent in December 2007, according to “Cell Phones and American Adults,” a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Teens also are more voracious texters — 50 messages a day “on average,” in contrast to the “typical 10 text messages sent and received by adults” every day, Pew said. The non-profit organization compared the results of its May survey of 2,252 adults with a survey it did previously on the cell phone habits of teens ages 12 to 17.

“We’ve reached a point where enough other people are texting that (adults) are drawn into using it because they can finally use it to communicate with a substantial number of their friends and family,” said Amanda Lenhart, Pew senior research specialist.

“It may be that folks have been pushed by pricing into unlimited texting plans, which has the effect of encouraging people with those plans to text more, because they no longer think of the cost, and then text more people more often.”

Some of that texting is done from behind the wheel. In a recent study, “Adults and Cell Phone Distractions,” Pew said that 27 percent of adults say they have texted while driving, “the same proportion of driving-age teens (26 percent)” who also admit to doing so.

Adults also have “mixed feelings” about the object to which many of their ears are glued during the day (and night): 65 percent of them sleep with their phones on or right next to their beds, and 91 percent say having a cell phone with them makes them feel safer, Pew said.

But 86 percent said they find it “rude when others check their phones repeatedly during meetings or conversations,” and 42 percent say they “get irritated when a call or text interrupts them” from what they’re doing.

Among some of the survey’s other findings:

• 57 percent of adults report “receiving unwanted or spam text messages” on their phones.

• 90 percent of parents have a cell phone, compared with 72 percent of adults without children under the age of 18 at home.

• For “most adults, voice calling is their primary use of the phone. They make and receive about 5 calls per day on average.”

• 87 percent of African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics own a cell phone in the United States, compared to 80 percent of whites, Pew said.

And those “phone sleepers” as Pew calls those who sleep with a mobile on or right next to their beds? The younger they are, the more that is the case, most likely because text-messaging often continues into the wee hours.

“Younger” adults ages 18 to 29 “are the most likely to have ever slept with or next to their phone,” Pew said, “with fully 90 percent … saying they have slept with their phone. By comparison, 70 percent of 30-to 49-year-olds with phones sleep with their handset, as do 50 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds.” About one-third of those 65 and older keep a mobile nearby at bedtime.

© 2010

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