March 19, 2012

Teens, Smartphones & Texting

Introduction

Teens are fervent communicators. Straddling childhood and adulthood, they communicate frequently with a variety of important people in their lives: friends and peers, parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, and a myriad of other adults and institutions. This report examines the tools teens use to communicate, with a particular focus on mobile devices, and then places the use of those tools in the broader context of how teens choose to communicate with people in their lives.

What follows are the findings from a study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute and supported by Cable in the Classroom. The data discussed in this report are the result of a three-part, multi-modal study that included interviews with experts, seven focus groups with middle and high school students, and a nationally representative random-digit-dial telephone survey of teens and parents. The survey was fielded April 19 through July 14, 2011, and was administered by landline and cell phone, in English and Spanish, to 799 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. Black and Latino families were oversampled.1 The margin of error for the full sample is ±5 percentage points.2

Cite this publication: Amanda Lenhart. “Teens, Smartphones & Texting.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2012) http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/03/19/teens-smartphones-texting/, accessed on July 22, 2014.

  1. For more details about the impact of oversampling on this study, please visit: http://www.people-press.org/methodology/sampling/oversamples/
  2. For more details about how the study was conducted, please see the Methodology section at the end of this report.