More adults take up texting

A large number of American adults continue to take up texting, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Among adult cell phone users, 72 per cent now send and receive text messages, up from 65 percent this time last year.

Even though adults are catching up fast, they still lag behind teens. An earlier survey suggested that 87 per cent of kids aged 12 to 17 are texters. Adults are also far behind when it comes to frequency of texts: a typical adult sends and receives 10 texts a day, while teens average over 50 messages a day.

“We’ve reached a point where enough other people are texting that (adults) are drawn in because they can communicate with a substantial number of their friends and family,” said Amanda Lenhart, Pew senior research specialist.

Cost may also be a factor, with unlimited texting plans making it more economical to contact someone via text rather than waste precious minutes on a call.

Even though parents are becoming as attached to their cell phones as their kids, there are mixed feelings about this essential tool of the digital age. Although 65 per cent of adults sleep with their phones next to their beds and 91 per cent say having a cell phone makes them feel safer, 86 per cent said they find it rude when others check their phones during meetings or conversations, and 42 per cent say they “get irritated” when a call or text interrupts them.

Among some of the survey’s other findings:

  • 57 per cent of adults report receiving unwanted or spam text messages on their phones.
  • 90 per cent of parents have a cell phone, compared with 72 percent of adults without children under the age of 18 at home.
  • For most adults, voice calling is still the primary use of the phone. They make and receive about 5 calls per day on average.

And those “phone sleepers” as Pew calls those who sleep with a mobile on or right next to their beds? Those are mostly younger adults, where text-messaging often continues into the early morning hours.

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