For America's teens, cell phones have become a vital social tool and texting the preferred mode of communication, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
The report finds that 75 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 now have cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. And the number who say they text-message daily has shot up to 54 percent from 38 percent in just the past 18 months.
The survey, which was conducted with scholars from the University of Michigan, finds the typical American teen sends 50 texts a day, and a sizable number send double that or more. Some teens text their parents, though most youngsters say they prefer to speak with them by phone.
The Pew report finds that most schools ban texting in class, but allow it in the halls or at lunch. A small minority ban phones outright, but the study finds that neither that, nor parental controls, seem to have much influence on the amount of texting teens do.
- Read the Pew Internet Report 'Teens, Mobile Phones and Texting'
- Listen to the NPR Podcast 'Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?'