Jaw-Dropper: 18 to 24 Year Olds Average 110 Text Messages per Day

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A new Pew Internet study takes a look at the texting habits of cell phone owners. The findings show that of the 83% of American adults who own cell phones, roughly 73% of them send text messages and about 31% of them prefer texting to actually talking on the phone.

Surprising? Not really. But here’s the craziest data point: Cell phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an incredible 109.5 text messages per day, or 3,200 per month. Back in 2009, a similar Nielsen study found that teens were averaging a few hundred less with only 2,899 texts per month.

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AT&T famously killed their $10 for 1,000 texts plan back in August to offer two options: $20 for an unlimited plan, or a $0.20 per text option. If a cell owner sends even half of what normal 18- to 24-year olds average at 20 cents each, that’d still work out to over $320 a month. (Hopefully no one actually does this.)

Egregious? Maybe. But it’s hardly new. Perhaps it’s that every carrier outside of Verizon offers unlimited texting in some form while advertising it as the smarter alternative, giving them free reign to text as they please.

Still, the increase in texting may eventually taper off as smartphone penetration continues to rise; cell phone owners will have viable (and free) channels outside of SMS to communicate with their friends.

Or maybe everyone’s just texting each other whales.

See the full findings here.

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Chris Gayomali is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @chrigz, on Facebook, or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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