A third of U.S. teenagers with cell phones send more than 100 texts a day as texting has exploded to become the most popular means of communication for young people, according to new research.
The study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which offers a glimpse into teen culture and communication, found that texting has risen dramatically even since 2008, eclipsing cell phone calls, instant messaging, social networks — and talking face-to-face.
The Pew Research Center said that three-fourths of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 now own cell phones and of those that do, girls typically send or receive 80 text messages per day and boys, 30 per day.
“Texting is now the central hub of communication in the lives of teens today, and it has really skyrocketed in the last 18 months,” Pew researcher Amanda Lenhart said, attributing the rise in part to payment plans that allow unlimited texting.
The study’s authors also say that, unlike phone calls, text messaging can be quietly carried out under the noses of parents, teachers or other authority figures and, unlike computers, it can be done almost anywhere.
I know I communicate with the students far more by text than any other way. Very seldom do we talk via phone or even email. Facebook is a close second in terms of communication.
What’s good about this? Again, it’s about becoming a trusted source for students. If you’re not available by text to them, then they can consider you passe´and not at all interesting in their world. Secondly, if they text you it shows that they consider you someone who they can trust and that they want to talk to. That’s some valuable real estate in terms of ministry.
Even my colleagues here in Buffalo and at BustedHalo are catching on. We text on a regular basis and have even used it covertly at times…like when a meeting is God-awful boring, or when someone needs to be rescued from someone who just won’t let go of an argument.
Technology can unite us and bring us closer together so that more of those in-person conversations can happen. The question that remains is “Are you open enough to embrace new technology so you can put that at the service of your ministry?”