“Girls Text Really Weird”: Gender, Texting and Identity Among Teens

Richard Ling, Naomi Baron, Amanda Lenhart, Scott Campbell

    Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This article examines the strategies used by teenagers for interacting with members of the opposite sex when texting. This article uses material from a series of nine focus groups from 2009 in four US cities. It reports on the strategies they use and the problems they encounter as they negotiate this portion of their lives. Texting is a direct, person-to-person venue where they can develop their gendered identity and also investigate romantic interaction. In this activity, both genders show the ability to make fine-grained interpretations of texts, often interpreting the meaning of punctuation and other paralinguistic devices. In addition, they use texts to characterize the opposite sex. Teen boys' texts are seen as short and perhaps brisk when viewed by girls. Boys see teen girls' texts as being overly long, prying and containing unneeded elements. The discussion of these practices shows how teens engage in their sense of gender
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Children and Media
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)423-439
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • gender
    • mobile phones
    • teen identity
    • teens
    • texting


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