A new report from Nielsen shows that U.S. teens have tripled their data use in the past year, and send — far and away — the most messages of any age group of mobile users.
The data is pulled from the monthly cellphone bills of over 65,000 volunteers, the research group said. Survey participants ages 13-17 used an average of 90 MB per month in 2010; in 2011, that number jumped 256 percent to 321 MB. In the same period of time, data use jumped 147 percent for those ages 18-24, 118 percent for those 25-34 and 133 percent for those ages 35-44.
In fact, data use across all age groups nearly doubled. A major piece of the increase, the group said, is the rise of messaging as an alternative to voice calls.
On average, teens exchange 3,417 messages per month or — as Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt pointed out — around seven text messages per waking hour.
When asked why they preferred messaging to voice calls, teens said that the medium was faster, easier and more fun than the traditional conversation.