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Teen text messaging up – but do they yack more than parents did?

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Melanie Stetson Freeman / Staff

(Read caption) Teen text messaging volume has increased, but as a measure of teen communication, it may not be much different than the level their parents engaged in. Here, Hadde Jones text on a Blackberry in Boston in July 2010.

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Three-quarters of US 12- to 17-year-olds text on cellphones, and the volume of texts they send and received is now 60 a day for the median teen texter, up from 50 a day in 2009, according to a study released March 19 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

“Older teens [14-17], boys, and blacks are leading the increase,” Pew says, but “older girls remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011″ (when this survey was done).

Texting has clearly passed up all other modes of communication for American teens: 39 percent do voice calling every day, compared to the 63 percent who text daily; 35 percent engage in face-to-face socializing outside of school; 29 percent messaging via social network site; 22 percent instant messaging; 19 percent talking on landlines; and 6 percent e-mailing.

Among those who actually talk on the phone, Pew found that those who use landlines are declining quickly: 30 percent did in 2009, and now only 14 percent do, and 31 percent of teens say they never talk on a landline with friends.

As for in-person socializing, it has “declined slightly to 25% from 33% in 2009,” Pew says, but “teens who say they talk with friends face-to-face outside of school several times a week has increased to 37% from 28% in 2009.” More than three-quarters (77 percent) of US teens now have cellphones and 23 percent smartphones.

So what do these numbers say?

I think not a whole lot besides the fact that texting has replaced our favorite mode of communication when we were teens.

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