Interesting Studies About Cell Phones and Youth
Cell phone users are getting younger and younger, which is no great surprise. Kids and teenagers have always been quick to pick up new technology, whether it’s an Atari or a full featured smartphone. But now that cell phones are absolutely pervasive, more institutions are conducting studies into how exactly cell phones effect how young people engage the world. Here are a few interesting facts that might make your rethink your assumptions about cell phones and teens:
Kids Spend Every Waking Hour on their Cell Phones
According to The New York Times, cell phone users between ages 8 and 18 spend about 7 and a half hours on their cell phones. And because they are multitasking, according to the article, they end up packing nearly 11 hours of multimedia consumption into each day. This includes watching mobile TV, browsing the web, TXTing, listening to music and other activities. Interestingly, heavy cell phone use wasn’t necessarily correlated to decreased exercise. That’s because, unlike TVs and video games that force you to sit on the couch all day, cell phones can go where ever you go. So, the fact that you can listen to music or radio while jogging, check email at the bowling alley or fire off a text message while waiting for the bus is somewhat heartening. But one trend in multitasking is a bit more troublesome…
Texting While Driving
Recent statistics show that about 60% of teens admit to reckless driving, while half of them say that they regularly text while driving. We’ve already discussed texting while driving bans being pushed through state legislatures, but enforcing these new laws will be tough. According to the same statistics, about 25% of car accidents are caused by drivers talking on cell phones and texting increases the chance of being in accident by 23%.
Texting Actually Improves Spelling
Surprisingly, texting isn’t all bad. A study reported by the BBC says that texters between ages 8 and 12 years old actually have higher rates of literacy, in spite of the inscrutable TXT lingo and abbreviations that most adults can’t understand (GR8, hmwrk, CX, LOL, WTF?). According to the report, use text speak increases “phonological awareness” which helps students understand the letters for the correct spellings of the words.
Boys Play Games, Girls Gossip
Another finding from the University of Alabama is perhaps not as shocking. According to the Washington Post, middle school aged boys tended to play games, share photos and videos and send emails with their phones while girls tended to use their phones mainly for texting and talking. However, this doesn’t mean that boys don’t text at all – rather they do so at the same frequency as girls. The author of the study said that it had less to do with the tendency for girls to be more social than boys, rather, it was due to girls perceiving themselves as less skill in terms of technology.
Heard any interesting facts about cell phones lately? Leave a link in the comments.
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