Teenagers view voice calling as 'more suitable' for adults (study)

Surprisingly, a new study shows that younger teenagers care more about having a smartphone while older teenagers might not care as much about the difference between a smartphone and a featurephone.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Social media behavior today -- especially among teenagers -- has strong implications for the future development of mobile devices and technology, according to a new survey conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab, a strategy, marketing and product management firm within the Ericsson Group.

Here are some of the major highlights from the survey as to how teenagers view and define social media within their lives:

  • A teenage relationship begins with a changed Facebook status.
  • Changing your Facebook relationship status to "in a relationship" or "single" is now seen by friends as the official declaration -- not a joke or something to be brushed off.
  • Teenagers actually still prefer meet potential romantic partners face-to-face.

A major divide between teenagers and older mobile users might come down to texting versus voice calling. As previously mentioned, teenagers prefer meeting face-to-face, but texting is really their favorite alternative for communication as it doesn't "interrupt the flow of their lives."

Funny enough, Ericsson also reports that they view voice calling as something that adults do -- not them. Once again, so much for that age-old stereotype of teenagers wasting all their time gabbing away on the telephone.

Ericsson ConsumerLab senior advisor Ann-Charlotte Kornblad explained in the report that this could be because behaviors (and presumably, attitudes and interests) change as people enter different life stages:

As they get older, teenagers start to use communication tools in the same way as adults. They will continue to use 'their' tools such as texting, Facebook and video chat, but at the same time, they understand the need to use voice and e-mail as they move into the next stage of their lives.

One such example of that could be the devices themselves. Ericsson found that 13-year-olds are much more interested in getting a smartphone in particular, whereas there isn't much change for 17-year-olds when it comes to the ownership levels of smartphones or featurephones.

For reference, the study is based on the responses from approximately 2,000 survey participants to achieve a representative sample of 20 million people between 13 and 17 years old. Ericsson posits that the sample is supposed to reflect the teenagers in the United States, but that the behavior reported is also similar to that of their counterparts in many other countries.


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