NEW YORK – Teenagers still value phone calls and face-to-face meetings with friends even as they frequent online hangouts like Facebook and MySpace, a new study finds.
Nearly 40 percent of teens say they talk to friends on a traditional wired phone every day, and 35 percent say they do so on cell phones, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said Wednesday, analyzing its phone surveys from late 2006. Thirty-one percent of teens say they spend time in person with friends every day.
Fewer teens say they communicate daily using instant messaging, text messages or internal messaging systems at Facebook, News Corp.’s MySpace or another social-networking site.
Confirming anecdotal evidence, e-mail has lost favor among teens. It ranked at the bottom – used daily by only 14 percent of teens to keep in touch with friends.
“Telephone communications and face to face, it’s simply richer than what you get on the Internet,” said Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist at Pew. “You get nuances, tone of voice, body language. It’s easier to understand a joke face to face or on the phone than in text-based communications. It’s simply more compelling to folks.”
Nonetheless, teens who use social-networking sites – 55 percent of online teens – consider the hangouts important in their social lives.
Ninety-one percent of the social-networking teens use the sites to stay in touch with friends they see frequently; 82 percent use them to keep contact with those they rarely see in person. Three-quarters use them to make plans, and half say they make new friends there.
“For teens who do use them, they aren’t necessary the primary way (of communicating), but they are one of many ways,” Lenhart said.
More than half of social-networking teens have shared photos, videos or other artistic work online, compared with less than a quarter of those who do not use the sites.
The telephone-based study of 935 Americans ages 12-17 was conducted Oct. 23 to Nov. 19, 2006, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.