Technology Still Hasn't Pried Teens Off Phone
By Eric Lin, Wed Jun 09 01:00:00 GMT 2004

Teens are still on the phone all the time, only the phones have changed. Even American teens in rural areas are using mobile phones more often.

A new American survey finds that rural teens are following their city-dwelling peers, relying more on mobile phones than on landlines. The Rural Youth Survey of Telecom Usage showed that a stunning 86% percent claim they have their own wireless devices (we hope this means mobile phones, not PDAs). Not only is this higher than average, but only 5% of these teens say they use prepaid service, so these are family purchases, not phones the teens are paying for themselves. 20% of the surveyed teens said they rarely use home phones for voice calls, and 14% said they never use their home phones, up from 13% and 6% last year.

Text messaging is starting to catch on with the rural young Americans as well. Over 50% have sent a message at least once (less than 40% had ever texted last year), and 12% claim to text often. Although we don't have figures, it's fairly safe to assume these figures are still well behind the texting habits of metropolitan teens.

An Australian study released today concluded that teens there are texting to create a family, or a tribe, from their peers in lieu of more traditional support structures. While the study adds drama to the prolific texting habits, it's difficult to claim that teens constantly talking with each other (even if it's written) as anything new. Parents have been unable to pry their kids off the phone for more than 50 years. The fact that Aussie teens have migrated from landlines and voice to mobiles and text is just an evolution, not a dramatic development. Whether by voice or text, mobile phones are now the device of choice for teens around the world to keep in constant touch with each other.