When you take a moment to consider some recent texting statistics, it can really be an eye-opening experience. The use of SMS (or "text messaging") is quickly rising in popularity, not only among teenagers and young professionals, but among the general population as well. The effects of this increasing texting can be quite wide-reaching.
For some time, texting statistics were not recorded or reported separately from statistics related to cell phone usage in general. This is because, for a number of years, most cell phone users did not rely on SMS as a primary form of communication. Mobile phones were still largely used for voice calls.
This is no longer the case, of course. In addition to regular voice calls, the mass populace has started to use cell phones for mobile eemail, music listening, mobile web surfing, personal information management, and all sorts of other tasks. Sending text messages is a part of this larger overall trend.
Increasing Popularity of SMS
So, how popular has SMS (short message service) become? In addition to being used for brief updates and other messages, many people are using text messaging to send short jokes, for example.According to an article on Textually.org from 2006, a full 40 percent of mobile phone users in the United States send text messages regularly. This is not a single instance of a single SMS; this is with regular and consistent use of the text messaging service. As these texting statistics are from 2006, it follows reason to believe that text message usage is increased even further since then.
From the same study, conducted by NPD Group, we learn that only about 21 percent of American cellular subscribers have downloaded with a ringtone with only about 10% being considered "active downloaders." Text messaging, with its relative affordability, is much more popular. Mobile gaming is even less popular with about 9 percent of those polled having downloaded a mobile game.
How many text messages are sent on a regular basis? In the first half of 2006, U.S. mobile phone users sent approximately 65 billion text messages.
Text Messaging and Driving
With the rising popularity of SMS has also come a series of problems and issues. Some texting statistics have provided evidence that texting can kill, particularly when a driver is distracted while on the road. There are many risks of text messaging while driving, above and beyond any legal issues that may arise in such areas as California. In fact, one study is saying that the dangers of texting while driving are just as substantial as drinking and driving. This is related to the distraction factor. Perhaps even more disconcerting is that while many of these users realize text messaging while driving can be very distraction, a full 37% of them still continue to send and receive text messages while behind the wheel. This is among 900 teens polled from 26 high schools across the United States.
Effect on Teen Language Abilities
Coupled with a greater reliance on instant messengers and other forms of casual written communication, some studies have shown that the language and communication abilities of today's teens have greatly deteriorated compared to previous generations. They've come to rely on texting abbreviations and other non-standard practices. This is true with both funny text messages and more serious conversations.Texting statistics show that children are younger than ever for when they are first exposed to mobile phones and text messaging. A 2005 ChildWise study that one-in-four children under the age of eight had a mobile phone. This number skyrockets to 89% by the time they reach the age of 11 or 12.
Given the 160 character confines of a standard SMS message, children are learning to shorten their messages and do away with standard punctuation. This may be correlation and not necessarily causation, but another study by Achieve has shown that 34% of employers "were dissatisfied with the oral communication skills of high school graduates." The greater reliance on casual written communication may have contributed to this trend.