Gender influences school kids' mobile use

CIOL Bureau
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WASHINGTON, USA: Gender has a big say in how school kids use cell phones, as many of them are likely to ask their parents for one this Christmas.


University of Alabama, Birmingham, (UAB) sociologist Shelia Cotten, asked 1,000 middle school students to rate how they use their cell phone on a five-point scale, from zero meaning "never" to 5 meaning "several times a day".

Boys scored higher than girls on playing games, sharing pictures and videos, listening to music and/or sending e-mails, says Cotten.

"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," says Cotten.


"Girls used the phone as a phone book or contact list more often than boys did."

But when UAB researchers looked at how often children made calls and used text messaging, no gender differences were detected. Girls averaged two hours on the cell phone daily and boys averaged about 1.8 hours daily, according to an UAB release.

"By these study results, we aren't saying that parents should buy phones with fewer features for girls," says Cotten, "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.


Females traditionally have perceived themselves as less skilled in terms of technology, especially regarding computers, she said.

These findings appeared in the current issue of New Media and Society.