Texting Trends: Students More Likely to Text than Talk
By Paul Langhorst – March 20, 2013
According to data published by Nielsen Mobile in December 2011, the average number of monthly texts for 13-17 year-olds is nearly five times that of voice calls.
Let’s take a look at why this is happening and examine the implications it has for student reporting of bullying and other issues.
Students Live on Their Mobile Phones
In the old days (5 years ago!), kids lived on PCs, often spending hours at a time instant messaging, chatting with friends (or even strangers) online. Today, the PC has been replaced with smartphones. The latest devices allow students to text, chat, and post 24/7 directly to each other and through many other via social media sites and programs.
These days, teens are so connected to their mobile devices they have become part of their person and personality. Teens, especially girls, personalize their phones with beads, colorful cases, and designs. They often evaluate each other by the type of device they carry: Droid vs. iPhone, smartphone vs. feature phone. Try to take one away and you are in trouble! Case in point: in 2011, a man was shot in the head with a bow and arrow by his 11-year old daughter after he had taken her phone away! Besides that extreme example, serious studies have shown that teens consider technology to be an essential part of their lives. For example, 53 percent of young people surveyed for a 2011 study by globally-known marketing agency McCann Worldgroup said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up the technology they utilize.
Implications for School Hotlines and Anonymous Reporting
The bottom line is that if your school is going to offer an anonymous reporting solution or school hotline, it had better include the means for students to text in reports. The likelihood of students texting in important reports or tips is far greater than them walking through the front door of the principal’s office to do the same, especially when the report may be very personal or embarrassing. In a perfect world, every report would be made face to face, and we encourage that here at the CyberBully Hotline. However, the reality is that some things are so troubling or personal that fear, shame, or embarrassment will prevent a student from coming forward. In those cases, an anonymous school hotline is the perfect solution.
Of course, students must realize that their school hotline exists before they will take advantage of it. This is where a school’s ongoing promotion effort behind their school hotline pays off. Schools must diligently promote their hotlines, in the halls, online, in class, in assemblies, to parents, on the bus, and anywhere students my congregate. Do so and you will have success with your school hotline.
Learn More about Anonymous Reporting and School Hotlines
If you’re thinking of implementing an anonymous reporting program at your school, let us help you understand the available options. Click here to contact us for more info, or view a free webinar on anonymous reporting here.