Chatting with teenagers Journal Article uri icon



  • In the last few years, teenagers have been on the forefront of adopting short message service (SMS), a mobile phone-based text messaging system, and instant messaging (IM), a computer-based text chat system. However, while teenage adoption of SMS had led to a series of studies examining the reasons for its popularity, IM use in the teenage population remains understudied. This omission becomes significant given the increasing interest in domestic computing among human-computer interaction (HCI) and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) researchers. Further, because of the dearth of empirical work on teenage use of IM, we find that IM and SMS are sometimes incorrectly assumed to share the same features of use. To address these concerns, we revisit our own studies of SMS and IM use and reexamine them in tandem with other published studies on teenage chat. We consider similarities and differences in styles of SMS and IM use and how chat technologies enable the pursuit of teenage independence. We examine how differences are born out of technological differences and financial cost structures. We discuss how SMS and IM are used in concert to provide increased awareness and to coordinate inter-household communications, and how privacy is regulated within the individual household as a means of maintaining these communications.

publication date

  • December 1, 2006

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • December 8, 2013 9:12 AM

Full Author List

  • Grinter RE; Palen L; Eldridge M

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1073-0516

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-7325

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 423

end page

  • 447


  • 13


  • 4