Mobile communications and social media are changing the way teenagers hook up, but not the way they date, research by Ericsson shows.
A study of US teenagers aged 13 to 17 shows growing mobile phone ownership among the group is impacting the courting process by shifting the emphasis onto text messaging and social network interaction. Social media is now also the official staging post for announcements of a burgeoning relationship, the infrastructure firm claims.
While the research may seem frivolous, there are serious elements included in the data. SMS, for example, is more popular with teens than voice calls, which most youngsters regard as the preserve of adults. Some 53% of the 2,000 teens quizzed said their phone calls typically last less than four minutes, resulting in an overall drop in the use of home landlines in the year preceding the research.
Despite the trend towards modern communications, the research found that most teenagers still prefer to date in person. It also shows that use of communications matures over time, with most teens turning to more ‘adult’ methods.
“Behaviors are dynamic and shift as people enter different lift stages,” notes Ann-Charlotte Kornblad, senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab. “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.”