teenagers and mobile phones

some time ago, anastasia goodstein posted about a recent study of teenagers and cell phones on her ypulse blog. she has a particularly important, i think, insight in her opening paragraph (bold added below):

We’ve often heard teens say [melodramatically], “I can’t live without my cell phone.” A new study from OTX and eCRUSH helps to explain that it’s not the bells and whistles like music or video on their phones they would miss the most, it’s that cell phones have become their primary way of staying connected to friends and family. What’s important to remember about teens and technology, is that while teens may become heavier users of new technology before the rest of the population, they’re not “early adopters” meaning most teens aren’t geeking out over features. Instead they are embracing tech that meets their needs for portability and constant communication.

highlights of the study, according to anastasia:

– A majority of teens cited reasons such as ‘convenience of being able to communicate from anywhere (77%)’ and ‘security of being able to reach family (75%)’ as major benefits.

– Much lower on the list were friends’ admiration of their cell phone features (41%) or look (39%).

– When asked specifically how cell phones made them ‘feel’, teens again opted for connectivity with friends (71%), connectivity with family (63%) and being responsible (61%), over important (31%), fashionable (30%), or trendy (27%)

– 51% of teens said they “absolutely could not live without” their cell phones

– When teens were asked about the mobile phone features they have and use, text messaging was overwhelmingly cited as the feature they use most (72%), followed by the ability to customize wall paper (72%), take digital pictures (63%), and play games which come with the phone (56%)

– Much lower on the list was downloading music (36%), and downloading videos (22%)

– Text messaging was also cited as the feature teens want most (among those that don’t have this feature), well ahead of taking digital pictures, downloading music, or using an instant messenger program

– 41% of teens surveyed have video downloading capability on their cell phones and approximately half of those teens are actually downloading and viewing videos.

– Among these teens, music videos are the most watched type (67%), followed by user generated content (27%), full length TV shows (24%) and clips from TV shows (24%). 31% of teens who watch video on their cell phones also reported that their consumption of TV, DVDs, and movies has not decreased

5 thoughts on “teenagers and mobile phones”

  1. It’s funny how oblivious parents are about cell phone usage. They get it for the ease of their own minds…they can now reach their teen at all times…

    but i recently had a parent approach me and say that her son was looking at models on his phone…she had no idea he could go on the internet and that she could’ve blocked it or purchased a phone without the capability…

    so interesting.

  2. A majority of teens cited reasons such as ‘convenience of being able to communicate from anywhere (77%)’ and ‘security of being able to reach family (75%)’ as major benefits.

    I would venture to say most teens in all of our youth groups feel the same way here. We have kids in our youth group whose parents got them cell phones so they are easily accessible and they have one close by in case they need it. Thanks for sharing this info, Marko! It was interesting.

  3. I wonder if kids would feel this great need for cell phones to stay in contact if they weren’t as busy as we make them to be in school, families, and even youth groups. Maybe they’d have time to get together and hang out. I also wonder if they’ll ever adapt back to having time once it is given to them.

  4. A lot of teens I’ve talk to rather text then talk on the phone and will average around 3000 or more texts a month. Back to whats been said they want to interact whithout really interacting

  5. Yeah, it seems to me that while cells do have a certain “glamour appeal” their central appeal is as a primary method of communication – along with social networking.

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