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7 Myths About Teens and Cell Phones

Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Your Brain on Porn and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

1. Most teens use their cell phones to browse the Internet.

Not true. In fact, 79% of teens do not go online with their cell phones at all.

2. Teens from higher income families are more likely to use their cell phone to go online.

Actually, the opposite is true. Teen cell phone owners in households that make under $30,000 annually are the most likely to use their hand-held device to go online. This is compared to 22-27% for all other income brackets. No longer do homes need computers and broadband Internet access to give teens connectivity. Cell phones are overcoming these financial roadblocks.

3. The typical teen sends over 100 text messages a day.

Actually, despite the fact that 75% of teens have unlimited texting plans, less than a third of teens send that many texts a day. Over half of teens send 50 or less.

4. Parents and teens do not use texting much to communicate with one another.

Teens were asked who they text “several times a day.” Ranking at #1 was friends (75%), followed by a boyfriend or girlfriend (40%). But nearly a quarter of teens say they text several times a day with their parents, with another quarter saying they do this “at least once a day.” Additionally, 17% say they text several times a day with a sibling or other family member.

5. The typical teen makes dozens of calls a day.

Actually, 58% of teens make only one to five calls per day, and 20% make six to ten calls.

6. Most schools prevent teens from texting during classes.

It is true that 62% of teens are allowed to have cell phones at school, but not in the classroom. However, despite this 50% of teens who take their phones to school send or receive texts during class at least several times a week, and most of these do so every day.

7. Parents do not try to monitor what is on their teen’s cell phone.

Actually, 64% of parents have looked at the contents of their child’s cell phone. Many also restrict cell phone usage in some way (taking phone away as a punishment, limiting the number of minutes, limiting times of day the phone is used, or using the phone to monitor their child’s location).

*Source: Amanda Lenhart, “How do [they] do that? A Pew Internet guide to teens, young adults, mobile phones and social media” Pew Internet & American Life Project.  June 2010. Accessed: October 27, 2010.
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