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"IDK, my BFF Jill?"
Boys average 30 texts per day and skip punctuation

Mobile phone use in teens is currently at a very high rate and most of those teen users spend more time texting than they spend talking on their devices.

Unfortunately, texting has become such an integrated part of the life for teens and older drivers that texting while driving is something that many do without even thinking about it. According to some reports, people who are texting and driving are six times more likely to be in an accident.

new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project has looked for insights into teen culture and specifically the prevalence of texting.

According to the study, texting among the teen population in the U.S. has grown dramatically since 2008. Texting has now surpassed phone calls, IM, and social networking for communication between teens. The study found that a full 3/4 of teens from 12 to 17 own cell phones today and that girls in the group typically send 80 texts per day and boys typically send 30 texts per day.

Study researcher Amanda Lenhart said, "Texting is now the central hub of communication in the lives of teens today, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months." She continued saying, "We've kind of hit a tipping point where now teens expect other teens to respond to text messaging and to be available. There is definitely an element of text messaging that fits so seamlessly into their lives."

One key reason for the rise in texting among teens is that teens general expect each other to be reachable and to respond to text messages no matter if they are in class or under close watch of parents. One key finding of the study showed that 87% of teen cell phone owners sleep with or next to their phones so they can answer text messages during the night.

The study also found that girls use punctuation in texts and boys tend to forgo punctuation. Study author Scott Campbell said, "If a girl puts a period at the end of a text message (to another girl) then it comes across as she's mad." Lenhart added, "They have these practices because they've learned that texts can lead to misunderstandings. It's a deliberate thing and it's also part of a culture that's interested in differentiating itself from adult culture." 

While there are bans on texting and driving in many parts of the country for drivers of all ages, many teens are simply ignoring these bans and the evidence that shows texting and driving leads to more accidents. Police say that enforcing texting and driving bans is difficult because texting is hard to spot.

Teens simply say that no one will listen to the bans. Steven Bloch from the Automobile Club said, "What I would say is that texting and cell phone devices have become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it's hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong."

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RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By PrezWeezy on 4/20/2010 1:29:18 PM , Rating: 1
I've been known to respond to a text while at a red light.
I have a smart phone now with a full keyboard and I don't text and drive on that. When I had a 9 key I used to be able to whip out a text without ever looking at the phone so I could text and drive without any ill effect. Now, however, I have to look at the keyboard to see where my fingers are and I can't do it while driving anymore.

As for texting, I agree with the poster above. I text because I don't have to interrupt people in the middle of what they are doing. So I can send a text and when they get around to answering me I get a response. I also am a very visually oriented person. So when I get a text that says I need to be somewhere, take care of something, call someone, it tends to stick better. When someone calls me to tell me something it's usually in one ear and out the other. Also, phone calls fail to grasp my attention most of the time. Since simply listening to someone talk doesn't engage me the way it does some people, I tend to let my mind wander while I'm on the phone and then I can't remember anything that was said in the conversation. Texts on the other hand I can review later, and since they are written down I retain more of the information.

RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By MrBlastman on 4/20/2010 1:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
To me it sounds like you need to work on concentrating harder. You can remember what people say if you try.

There is no excuse though for texting and driving. NONE. Not even at a red light.

Wait, did I just say red light? Why yes, yes I did. "Why?" You might ask, because, if you are at a red light and are engrossed in a text message, what happens if an emergency vehicle comes along while your radio is on and you fail to notice them? The emergency vehicle either gets stuck or has to go off the road to get around you.

Driving is not a chore. Driving is a responsibility. You OWE it to the people around you to put the darned phone down and put your eyeballs and attention towards the road and your surroundings.

By PrezWeezy on 4/21/2010 2:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's called a learning style. It's very well studied. There are 3 types, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Your ability to retain information processed is directly related to your learning style. I happen to be a mix between visual and kinesthetic. The majority of the world (I think around 60%) are auditory learners. That means talking on the phone works for them. It's more difficult for me. Yes I could work very very hard and remember part of what someone says on the phone, but I don't retain it as well. Hence I use text messages which work very well for me. That's not because I'm choosing not to remember, that's the way my brain works.

As for texting at a red light, if I wasn't texting I'd be zoning out some other way so I wouldn't have any better chance of noticing the vehicle. I'm sorry that my texting when I'm stopped upsets you, but the fact of the matter is I am no more likely to cause a problem than anyone else on the road who does all of the other crazy things people do in cars. I realize the excuse "well I'm not as bad as..." sucks, but the fact is that I KNOW my limitations and I know when I need to put the phone down and I know when I'm losing my focus on the road. I know what I can and cannot do. I don't do anything that is going to put people in danger. I'm very conscious of that.

RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By Smilin on 4/20/2010 2:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
When I had a 9 key I used to be able to whip out a text without ever looking at the phone so I could text and drive without any ill effect.

Fool. There is absolutely an ill effect. Even having a hands free conversation increases your risk of an accident. Is that what you really think? That as long as you don't look down that you can text and drive without worry?

Normally I would just brush off tools like you and let darwin sort you out but unfortunately you're going to kill someone else who doesn't deserve it.

By jimhsu on 4/20/2010 5:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
How is texting while driving like secondhand smoke? Read your nearest economic textbook ... "negative externality".

RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By PrezWeezy on 4/21/2010 2:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying you have both hands on the wheel at all times no matter what? I drive one handed almost exclusively until I need my other hand. I also drive a stick, so most of the time is spent with one hand on the wheel, one on the shifter. When I had my 9 key I drove an auto at the time, so the net effect was the same.

By Smilin on 4/26/2010 1:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not saying anything about your hands. I'm talking about your brain.

Moving a shifter from 2nd to 3rd is not the same as composing a multiple character message on a 9 key.

RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By troysavary on 4/21/2010 11:38:44 AM , Rating: 2
You lack the mental capacity to remember a short phone conversation, yet you think you are able to dredge up from that same limited intellect the ability to text while driving with no ill effect. You, sir, are an idiot.

RE: This is one thing that I'll never get...
By PrezWeezy on 4/21/2010 2:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, people who are kinesthetic and visual learners tend to have higher IQ's on the whole. It's not mental capacity, it's synapse mapping. Before you call someone an idiot why don't you go ahead and learn about how the brain works.

By Smilin on 4/26/2010 1:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks professor.

If you think that someone can text and drive with no ill effects then you're an idiot too.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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