Shocking News: Teens Like Texting Better Than Talking Face to Face

Millenial Girl Texting

Having trouble getting through to a teenager in your life? Try texting them.

When asked to choose their favorite way to communicate with friends, 35 percent of the 1,141 US 13- to 17-year-olds polled on behalf of Common Sense in March and April picked texting, while 32 percent said they opt to talk in person, according to a new report. Meanwhile, 16 percent said social media is their preferred method of communication and 10 percent indicated they favor video chats.

Over the past six years, “teens’ preference for face-to-face communication has declined substantially” Common Sense noted. In 2012, 49 percent of teens said talking in person was their favorite way to communicate, while 33 percent preferred texting, 7 percent opted for social media, and just 2 percent chose video chatting.

Common Sense teens prefer texting to talking

“I worry so much about the report’s findings of the lack of person-to-person contact,” Common Sense Board Member Julie Lythcott-Haims said in a statement. “But in my work — and in my experience — I find that the need for human connection always wins out.”

She advised parents and educators to “encourage those important face-to-face conversations.”

Common Sense also found that teens’ social media use has “increased dramatically” over the past six years. Seventy percent now use social media more than once a day, including 16 percent who use it “almost constantly,” and 22 percent who check it several times an hour. In 2012, just 34 percent of teens used social media more than once a day.

As for their favorite social media site, teens “overwhelmingly” chose Snapchat. Some 41 percent said they use Snapchat the most, while 22 percent said Instagram and just 15 percent said Facebook.

“We thought at the time of our first survey in 2012 that social media had pervaded teenagers’ lives,” Vicky Rideout, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “But, as many of us suspected and this study confirms, what we saw then was just the tip of the iceberg. And, in another six years from now, these statistics may seem quaint.”

Smartphone ownership among teens has also skyrocketed. In 2012, 41 percent of US teens owned a smartphone; fast forward to today and that number has jumped to 89 percent.

Meanwhile, a separate study from the Pew Research Center recently revealed that 54 percent of teens ages 13 through 17 worry they spend too much time on their mobile phones and 52 percent have already cut back.

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