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Top Three Communication Tools for Teens

U.S. teens now live in a world in which the Internet, cell phones, text messaging and other technology dominate their communication and are an integral part of life as they understand it.

Despite the hype about using modern technology, young people still seem to grasp the rules for these communication tools and know when it is appropriate to use these items to gather information and when to avoid them altogether.

According to Suzanne Martin, Ph.D., Youth and Education Researcher at Harris Interactive, "Teens utilize different modes of communication in different social contexts." When the tone of a communication is serious, such as arguing with someone, teens realize that communication tools may not be the best avenue of discussion.

Two in three teens (67 percent) would not break up with someone and two in five (42 percent) would not argue with a friend over phones, email, instant messaging, text messaging, or social networking sites.

Teens feel more comfortable discussing touchy subjects when using instant messaging (29 percent), than cell phones (14 percent), text messaging (11 percent) and social networking websites (10 percent).

Overall, teens are most comfortable using cell phones, instant messaging and landline phones to have a private conversation (cell phone 29 percent, instant messaging 16 percent, landline phone 15 percent).

Not surprisingly, general teen day to day communications occur most over cell phones, social networking websites and landline phones. Cell phones are the number one choice for arranging to meet with friends (36 percent), having quick conversations (29 percent), contacting a friend when bored (25 percent) and inviting people to a party or event (22 percent).

Social networking websites are the choice of communication when staying in touch with friends (24 percent), leaving short messages (23 percent) and contacting a friend in different school or town (21 percent).

When comparing the different modes of communication, youth feel they would be most likely to miss out on the activities with friends if they didn't have a cell phone (29 percent). If teens want to feel more outgoing and have more time to think about what they have to say, they are more likely to use instant messaging to communicate over cell phones, text messaging or social networking websites.

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