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Teens Use Cell Phones to Stay in Touch, Not to Look Cool

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OTX (Online Testing eXchange), has published new results from its Teen Topix study. A key finding of the study was insight into the way cell phones make teens 'feel' and the benefits they get from cell phone ownership.

When asked about benefits, a majority of teens cited reasons such as 'convenience of being able to communicate from anywhere (77%)' and 'security of being able to reach family (75%)' as major benefits. Much lower on the list were friends' admiration of their cell phone features (41%) or look (39%). When asked specifically how cell phones made them 'feel', teens again opted for connectivity with friends (71%), connectivity with family (63%) and being responsible (61%), over important (31%), fashionable (30%), or trendy (27%).

"This release of Teen Topix sheds new light on many marketers' image of teens," said Amy Gibby, President of eCRUSH. "Its not all about 'look' and 'fashion' when it comes to this category, teens are practical and look for many of the same benefits we all do."

The study also found that of all the gadgets and devices available today, the cell phone is a teen favorite. 51% of teens said they "absolutely could not live without" their cell phones. When teens were asked about the mobile phone features they have and use, text messaging was overwhelmingly cited as the feature they use most (72%), followed by the ability to customize wall paper (72%), take digital pictures (63%), and play games which come with the phone (56%). Much lower on the list was downloading music (36%), and downloading videos (22%) Text messaging was also cited as the feature teens want most (among those that don't have this feature), well ahead of taking digital pictures, downloading music, or using an instant messenger program.

And, cell phones are rapidly becoming the "new" medium for viewing music videos! 41% of teens surveyed have video downloading capability on their cell phones and approximately half of those teens are actually downloading and viewing videos. Among these teens, music videos are the most watched type (67%), followed by user generated content (27%), full length TV shows (24%) and clips from TV shows (24%). 31% of teens who watch video on their cell phones also reported that their consumption of TV, DVDs, and movies has not decreased.

"As media companies move into the mobile space, it's critically important to understand how the teen demographic uses mobile technology for entertainment and the extent to which this usage affects their other media and leisure time behaviors," said Bruce Friend, President, Media and Entertainment Insights for OTX.

The Teen Topix survey taps into the complex lives of the 13 -17 year old set and is done in conjunction with eCRUSH, a leading PG-13 social networking site. 750 teens across the country were surveyed about their mobile phone preferences and behavior.

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Tags: social networking  text messaging  topix