Look Who’s Texting… 0-12yr olds Send/Receive 1,178 Texts a Month; Plus Do You Know Which Apps they Use?

January 17, 2011

We know teens text constantly, but new data from The Nielsen Company suggests their younger siblings (ages 0-to- 12) are catching up.  Sending and receiving an average of 1,178 texts a month, these tykes are positioned to vie with the 18-24 year-olds for second place in text volumes as seen in the table below.

Gender places an additional burden on female fingers as females are 29% more likely to text according to the report.

This explosion in texting comes on top of voice minutes which have remained relatively stable averaging roughly 600- 700 hundred minutes per month between January 2005 and September 2010.

Over this same time period, the use of text messaging shot up from less than 100 a month to more than 600 by the end of 2010. (figures based on MarketingCharts analysis of Nielsen chart).

Nielsen’s data also highlights some other key US Mobile trends:

  • Top 5 cell phones:  Apple iPhone 3GS, Samsung SCH-U450, Motorola Droid, RIM Blackberry 8500 series, and Apple iPhone 4
  • 31% of mobile subscribers have smartphones
  • There are 228 million mobile phone users age 13 and up
  • 36% of mobile subscribers access the internet ( 83.2 million mobile phone web users)
  • 27 – is the average number of apps that smartphone users have on their phones
  • The top 5 mobile video channels are YouTube, Fox, Comedy Central, ESPN, and MTV.

In addition to Nielsen’s findings that the average smartphone has 27 apps downloaded onto it, comes data from Juniper Research that highlights where the expansion of mobile content categories is likely to go – in user generated content, mobile TV, adult content and gambling. (See my blog Mobile Revenues in North America Projected to Jump to $10 Billion by 2015 for more information.

What does this mean for parents?

Increased mobile activity requires increased mobile supervision, and guidance. It’s critical that you talk to your kids about responsible, respectful mobile phone use – including the times of day it’s appropriate to use the phone, and the types of activities you will or won’t allow – including the applications you find appropriate and the number you are willing to pay for.

I’ve written a guide to Using Mobile Phones Safely that can help you consider each feature of your child’s phone and the guidelines and safeguards you feel will be appropriate for these.

If you haven’t already adopted mobile safeguards for your children’s phones, it may be time to consider what family safety protections you may need (often referred to as parental controls). Several family safety companies have tools in place today, and most are ramping up their mobile services even further to meet youth’s needs for protection against malicious users, and inappropriate content.

What this may mean to your phone bill

As part of your conversation with kids and teens, an understanding of the number of text messages they want to send, or are allowed to send, is important to avoiding bill-shock. Families whose youngsters have just began texting, but who did not have a texting plan in place have received phone bills for thousands of dollars.  While there is now federal review of carriers practices, currently this is up to you to monitor. (See my blog Cell Phone ‘Bill Shock’ Remedy; To Little? Too Much? To Early to Tell for more on this issue).

For more information on youth and mobile texting, see my blog Average US Teen Sends or Receives 3,339 Texts a month.