Social Priorities Make Cell Phones a Necessity for Back-to-School Teens, Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – August 25, 2005 – Parents should not be surprised if cell phones top their teenagers' back-to-school shopping lists this year, advises IDC. A recent IDC and survey of nearly 8,000 U.S. teens, ages 13 to 18 who use mobile phones, suggests that many in this age group perceive a cell phone as a social necessity – 35.9% of teens acquired their phones mainly to use text messaging while an additional 13.3% acquired them to talk with friends.

IDC's study also indicates that cell phone usage drivers differ between teen boys and girls. Girls were more likely than boys to have purchased cell phones in order to call their family or to use in emergency situations, while boys preferred to call their friends. Boys were also more inclined than girls to use text messaging on their cell phones – girls, more than boys, preferred talking directly to their friends over text messaging them.

"Unlike any technology before it, cell phones have become important social catalysts for teenagers," said Dana Thorat, research manager at IDC. "While parents can be rest assured that they can reach their mobile teenagers virtually any place and any time, teens conversely perceive their phones as a means for gaining social acceptance and staying connected with friends."

For those teens that do not yet have their first cell phone, IDC expects many are now pestering their parents as they head back to school this fall. Looking ahead, an emerging wireless teen majority brings huge implications for new social behaviors among this generation. The implications for student populations could be just as tantamount. Current school policies that require the silencing of cell phone ringers during the school day may already be obsolete – dexterous thumbing on a phone's keypad under a desk is all it takes for seasoned texters to conduct covert conversations with others during class.

This data is compiled as a result of a survey partnership between IDC and This partnership allows on-demand market intelligence and analysis utilizing research derived from a local and global community of wireless technology users. IDC and have collaborated on several projects examining key topics impacting the mobile industry. Recent research includes cell phone use on airplanes, mobile music, and mobile gaming and entertainment.

For more information about IDC mobile and wireless research, contact Jon Guloyan at (508) 935-4296.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at

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