September 08, 2010

Most American adults — 82% — own a cell phone of some kind, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center. How they use their cell phones has changed subtly.

Texting by adults has increased over the past nine months from 65% of adults sending and receiving texts in September 2009 to 72% texting in May 2010. But adults do not send nearly the same number of texts per day as teens ages 12-17, who send and receive, on average, five times more texts per day than adults.

In fact, the study suggests that cell phone users may be texting as an alternative to using the internet. "Adults with cell phones who text, but who use the internet infrequently, are more likely to use text messaging to have long conversations," the report states. "Adults who use the internet less than once a week are more likely than those who use the internet more frequently to say they have long message exchanges on important personal topics several times a day – 22% of infrequent internet users report this, while 8% of daily internet users and 6% of those who use the internet several times a week report having frequent, long text exchanges. Infrequent internet users are also more likely than weekly users to use text messaging to coordinate meeting up with someone (21% vs. 8%) and to use text messaging to communicate silently with someone (19% vs. 7%). Taken together, these findings suggest that some cell phone users may be using their phone’s texting capabilities as a substitute for internet access on a computer."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR