Commentary

Teens And Mobile: Is The Love Affair Ongoing?

teens/mobile

The Pew Internet & American Life Project says it's working on its latest survey on how teens and their parents use mobile phones. The latest results won't come out until early 2010, so Pew repackaged some of data from surveys on teens and mobile from the last five years in a new report to tide over anyone (like mobile marketers) anxiously awaiting new insights on the subject.

One of the main findings across the studies is that the proportion of teens that have cell phones has risen from 45% in 2004 to 72% in early 2008. That figure has probably increased again over the last year and a half, assuming the growth pattern has held.

That the vast majority of U.S. teens are now using mobile phones isn't a big surprise. The more interesting questions have to do with how they're using them and what types of devices they're using.

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In 2004, for example, only a tiny number of teens used mobile devices to go online and only 7% owned a PDA such as Palm Pilot, Blackberry, or Sidekick. Pew says it plans to collect more data on this topic in the upcoming youth survey. Besides mobile Web browsing, Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist at Pew, confirmed Thursday the new survey does include a Twitter question-perhaps confirming that kids in fact are shunning the microblogging service.

More broadly, "We quantify number of text messages sent, frequency of use of phones for various purposes, content of communication over the device, who is communicated with in what ways (for example - do you text your parents or do you generally talk with them?) among many other things," Lenhart explained. She assured the upcoming report will be much more comprehensive than the one just released.

Given the changes in the mobile landscape over the last 18 months, what topics would you like to see the new Pew study on teens and mobile cover?

1 comment about "Teens And Mobile: Is The Love Affair Ongoing?".
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  1. Frank Hudetz, August 20, 2009 at 5:10 p.m.

    To what degree are teens taking pictures of bar codes with their cell phones in response to ads associated with them?

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