Distraction Free Friday: Teens use cell phones to text, not talk

Distraction Free Friday: Teens use cell phones to text, not talk

Photo credit: westernherald.com

The proliferation of mobile technology has impacted our lives from all aspects – from our jobs, keeping in touch with family and friends, to shopping and watching our favorite TV programs. Access to the internet is becoming easier and easier.

According to NHTSA, 16- to 24-year-old drivers visibly manipulating mobile devices while driving are on the rise, jumping from 1.5 percent in 2010 to 3.7 percent in 2011.  At the same time, other research suggests that teens prefer to use text messaging to communicate over talking on the phone.

A 2012 Pew Internet study found that more than 77 percent of adolescents own a smartphone, and 75 percent of all American teenagers text message. Fewer than 40 percent of teenagers use their mobile phones to make calls. Here are a few telling stats from that research:

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives. This number far exceeds the frequency with which teenagers choose to do the following:

  • Place a phone call by cell phone. Only 39 percent do that with others each day.
  • Partake in face-to-face socializing outside of school – just 35 percent of today’s teens.
  • Message others through social networking sites. This may surprise those who think teenagers run the social media sphere – only 29 percent of them use it to communicate regularly with friends.
  • Talking on a landline, accounting for 19 percent of adolescent communications.
  • Emailing others was the least popular form of communication for American teenagers, coming in at a meek six percent.

How do you think mobile tech innovations impact teens and their ability to drive safely?

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Bill Bass at 4:56 PM

    Good afternoon, thanks for sharing. I ran across something a few weeks ago that I think is a stupidly simple way to create awareness for distracted driving. It is at http://www.redthumbreminder.com I am 6’6″ and 300+ pounds, so me walking around with nail polish on my thumb is noticeable. I have had nearly 100 conversations over the past few weeks just because of doing this. I figure a little embarrassment is worth it if I can help save a life.

  2. Melanie Batenchuk Author at 8:37 AM

    Hey Bill – Thanks for that suggestion, and thank you for keeping up the fight against distracted driving! Cheers, Melanie