Kids and Cell Phones: Inseparable

Kids and cell phones. You can't live with 'em, and you can't live without 'em. We're speaking of the kids, actually, as cell phones, most teens would say they can't live without, period.

A new Pew Internet & Life Project survey (.PDF) shows that, unsurprisingly, cell phone use is continuing to rise among teens.

Specifically, the first Pew survey in 2004 showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. As of 2008, that number had risen to 71%. The survey had 914 respondents in 2004, vs. 2,134 respondents in 2008. Data was collected from those 12 - 17 years of age.

A new Pew Internet & Life Project survey (.PDF) shows that, unsurprisingly, cell phone use is continuing to rise among teens. Age tends to affect both ownership and activity. Only 52 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds own a cell phone. At age 14 the percentage leaps to 72%, while more than 17-year-olds owned their own cell phone.

In terms of activity, only 28% of 12-year-olds talked with their friends daily via cell phone, while more than 70% of 17-year-olds did so. Text messaging showed a similar gap, with That also holds true for texting, as 25% of those aged 12 - 14 text daily, while 51% of teens aged 15 - 17 do so.

It should come as no surprised that the most popular activity for teens is ... text-messaging. Among all teens, 38% of all teens do this on a daily basis, while 26% send messages daily via social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) and 24% use instant messaging. Sadly, a mere 29% spend time with their friends face-to-face, something that psychologists, and even the Pope, have warned about.

Texting is more popular among girls, probably also unsurprisingly, with 42% sending text messages to friends daily, while about 34% of boys do the same.

By age 17, about 82 percent of the survey's respondents owned one. But the cell phone isn't the most frequently- used communications device; that's still the landline, Pew found, with 88 percent using it versus 66 percent for cell phones.

Also noted by Pew, the more money, the more likely teens would have a cell phone.
  • Households earning $30,000 or less: 62%
  • Households earning $30 - 50,000: 63%
  • Households earning $50 - 75,000: 72%
  • Households earning more than $75,000: 79%
In terms of what teens desire most, or at least, have the most, is something you might think of, as well, as popular electronica amongst teens: a game console (78%). Next was an MP3 player (74%). The cell phone was a close third.