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ROFL? NC Teens Like Texting With Friends, but Not with Parents

April 22, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's relatively new law banning text messaging while driving is not dampening that preferred communication mode for teens. A new national study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds kids ages 12 to 17 say cell phone text messaging is "the way" to communicate with friends - ranking higher than e-mails, phone calls or meeting face-to-face.

One in three teens who text send more than 100 messages a day. That is not as outrageous as it sounds, report co-author Scott Campbell says.

"If you think about just sort of a conversation, and this as an extended conversation with multiple people throughout the day, conversations take a lot of turns, there's a lot of little one word responses."

Campbell, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, admits that parents can feel frustration when they see text messaging lingo. However, he points to the short format as an important skill in today's world.

"Being able to get your point across in 140 characters or less is becoming a valuable skill for top executives who are trying to get their message out to a larger audience."

In terms of teens communicating with their parents, however, the study finds kids prefer making a cell phone call - not texting.

The Pew report, "Teens and Mobile Phones," is available at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx.

Deb Courson/Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - NC