200 text messages a day: Young people's mobile habits

26 Aug 2009

How do you have the time to send 200 SMS messages in a day? Assuming a healthy eight hours of sleep, 200 text messages in a day means sending at least one every five minutes. This is a typical day for 13 year old Marina, who was interviewed by The Tomorrow Story for a report on young people’s mobile habits. (Available as a PDF in Swedish.) According to the report, Marina’s affection to SMS is not extreme, and typical for her age group.

So they like Short Messaging Service, but that is low-tech. What new mobile technology do the young people of today use? The report paints a picture of the teenagers as a conservative bunch, tech-wise. None of them uses MMS. Very few access the web from their phones. They are not interested in mobile television. They don’t install applications. It seems like the young generation would be happy with “old folk” mobiles with only phone and SMS functionality.

There is one technology that they use more than I had expected: Bluetooth. This makes sense since kids tend to have their friends at a close distance. They see each other every day in school, so they can wait until they meet to transfer the music or photo they want their friends to have. On the other hand, they text to someone a few meters away instead of waiting until class is over, so they’re not consistently patient.

When young people’s behaviour starts getting mysterious, you’re getting old, so I’ll better stop before I start to sound like a whining old man. But 200 text messages a day — sheesh!

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