March 31, 2011

“When I text I can say just what I want to say:” Gender and Adolescents’ Use of Text Messaging with Peers

Adolescents rely heavily on text messaging to communicate with peers, romantic partners, and perhaps also parents and other adults. According to a large scale survey on teens and texting conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project (Lenhart, Ling, Campbell, & Purcell, 2010), 75% of 12–17-year-olds own cell phones, 72% of all adolescents (88% of cell phone users) use text messaging regularly, 54% contact friends daily via text messaging, and girls use text messaging more than boys do. This symposium examines how adolescent boys and girls communicate with peers via text messaging:

The New Centrality of Mobile Phones: How Adolescents Text and Talk With Friends Compared With Other Forms of CommunicationAmanda Lenhart, Richard Ling, Scott Campbell, Kristen Purcell (Shown above; download as a PPT or PDF.)
     This presentation highlights results from a large national survey in the United States showing that text messaging is adolescents’ preferred mode of communicating with friends, and that girls embrace all forms of communication via cell phones more than boys.

“Girls Text Really Weird”: Cross-Gender Texting Among Teens - Richard Ling
     This presentation features telecommunications data from Norway demonstrating that text messaging to other-gender individuals is at its height during adolescence, but also responses from U.S. adolescents in focus groups that indicate challenges involved in other gender communication.

Gender and Electronic Communication: Relations Between Friendship Qualities and Adjustment and Use of Text Messaging - Marion K. Underwood, Lisa H. Rosen, David More, Samuel E. Ehrenreich, Joanna K. Gentsch
     The third presentation examines how adolescents’ friendship qualities and adjustment relate to the frequency of text messaging, measured by electronic billing records.

Chair: Marion K. Underwood

Discussant: Patricia M. Greenfield