Kids' cell phone use differs by gender

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Dec 18 (ANI): The way kids use their cell phone features depends on their gender, according to a new study.

In a study of nearly 1,000 middle-school students, students were asked to rate the different ways they use their cell phones.

The results showed that boys scored higher than girls for using their cell phones to play games, share pictures and videos, listen to music and/or send e-mails, even after accounting for how much the students liked using their phones and how skilled they were at using them.

"It has a lot to do with gender socialization. Boys are often taught to explore and be more creative with technology and not to be afraid to take things apart. So it leads to more advanced cell phone uses among boys. Boys tend to see and use the cell phone as a gadget," University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) sociologist Shelia Cotten said.

On the other hand, girls used the phone as a phone book or contact list more often than boys did, Cotton said.

However, when the researchers looked at more traditional types of cell-phone use - how frequently children made calls and used text messaging - no gender differences were detected, with girls averaging 2 hours on the cell phone each day and boys averaging about 1.8 hours per day.

"By these study results, we aren't saying that parents should buy phones with fewer features for girls," "but it does point out how more needs to be done to teach girls about the technical and more advanced multimedia features of their cell phones," Cotton said.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal New Media and Society. (ANI)

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