Under-aged Texting

Did you know that the average American teenager exchanges 3,146 text messages per month?

I get emails from Nielsen about their newest studies and research. This week they sent and interesting little tidbit from their 2009 research about texting. Nielsen is no joke. They analyze more than 40,000 mobile bills every month gathering data. Here’s a chart comparing the growth of texting over the past few years between kids under 12 (the blue line) and those age 13-17 (the red line).

In Nielsen’s 1/27/10 update, Roger Entner writes this:

The anecdotes documenting the love affair between teenagers and texting are countless. Many parents can attest that their offspring text rather than talk, even when they sit next to each other in the back of the car. Their children text in the morning before they brush their teeth and continue late into the night with the last text messages, also called SMS, sneaked in under the covers right before they close their eyes to sleep. Until now, there has been very little firm data available about how pervasive texting has actually become among the under-aged.

He goes on to break down the 3,146 messages per month that kids are using.

  • that’s more than 10 messages every hour of the month that they are not sleeping or in school
  • even the under 12 segment are sending 1,146 messages per month which is four text messages per waking hour that they are not in school

Read the whole report here.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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3 Responses to Under-aged Texting

  1. Ben says:

    I think the only problem with their stats is “while not sleeping or at school”. I’m a volunteer at the high school once a week during lunch and the amount of texting that goes on during lunch is no less than happens at youth group or any other activity. I know kids are texting during class and between classes as well.

  2. Ben… good point. At my son’s high school they are allowed to text at lunch and between classes. But in most classes the teacher will take away their phone if they text in class. That rule is taken pretty seriously.

    So, knowing that the 3,146 number is correct… the only part of the above stats that might change is the “texts per hour.” And for my son (and Freshman daughter), I’d subtract about 10 to 20 texts during lunch, and a few between each class… and that doesn’t change the numbers much.

    Their numbers are pretty good.

  3. Rio Mom says:

    I’m more concerned about the “disconnect” that happens in famiies when the kids are texting, texting, texting. Also, when kids aren’t supervised and photos that shouldn’t be taken are sent……WOW, something that was so wonderful for a tool to keep in touch has turned into a monster.