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Texting, not Talking, is How Tweens, Teens Prefer to Stay in Touch

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Youth today would rather text than talk and definitely prefer it to email or Instant Messaging. And even the few kids (ages 6 through 10) who have cell phones (19 percent) show signs of getting in on the act. A poll by YouthBeat, the youth insight service of C&R Research, shows that nearly 80 percent of teens (14 to 18) and tweens (11 to 13) have texted in the past week.

Both age groups say texting is the preferred mode for keeping in touch with just about everyone in their lives - friends, parents, and siblings. They overwhelmingly prefer to text their friends versus e-mailing them: Among tweens, 43 percent prefer texting, while 13 percent prefer e-mail; among teens, 57 percent prefer texting to e-mail (just 8 percent).

"Tweens and teens increasingly see e-mail as a means to an end - not an essential mode of communication," said Amy Henry, Vice President of Youth Services for C&R.

"They're more likely to have an e-mail address to give them access to social networking sites like Facebook than to treat it as a home base for communication. Interestingly, many maintain e-mail addresses for communicating with teachers about assignments," she explained.

She added: "Meanwhile, IMing through tools like AIM seems to be over, but the instant messaging applications on social networking sites are increasingly popular."

And what about kids? YouthBeat found that the kids who own cell phones send, on average, almost 16 text messages per day. "Kids who text are in the minority, but the fact that some are starting indicates that parents see this mode of communication as effective and efficient - as they're surely showing their kids how it's done," said Henry.

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