Cellphones for social status: Study

A nationwide survey of US teens found that they feel "cell phones have become a vital part of their identities," CNET reports, citing the survey of 2,000 13-to-19-year-olds by Harris Interactive and sponsored by CTIA, US cellphone carriers' trade association. "They also believe that they can gauge a peer's popularity or status by the phone he or she uses." Phones outrank jewelry, watches, and shoes as social-status signs, teens said. About 80% of teens carry a cell phone, double the percentage in 2004, and "almost half" having one is 'key' to their social lives. Other key findings: Respondents said they spend almost the same amount of time texting as talking, and 47% said their social life "would end or be worsened" if they could no longer text; 57% "credit mobility for improving their quality of life; 52% view phones as a new form of entertainment; 80% say their phone provides a sense of security while on the go, confirming the cellphone has become their mobile safety net when needing a ride (79%), getting important information (51%), or just helping out someone in trouble (35%). As for social mapping: "Ironically, while only one in five (18%) teens care to pinpoint the location of their family and friends via their cell phone, 36% hate the idea of a cell phone feature allowing others to know their exact location." Here's the study press release.

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