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On Teens Mobile Phones And Sexting

A curious note in Pew Research Center’s Teens and Mobile Phones study released a few weeks ago:

The teens who pay their own phone bills are more likely to send “sexts”: 17% of teens who pay for all of the costs associated with their cell phones send sexually suggestive images via text; just 3% of teens who do not pay for, or only pay for a portion of the cost of the cell phone send these images.

I suspect this is because someone else sees the bill.

An average bill for a heart attack was $45,000 in 2004. Assuming 7% annual inflation of health care costs that works out to roughly $67,500 in 2010. I believe the US health care inflation rate is actually higher that. It is estimated at 9% for 2010 alone. That’s conservative estimate.

A $100/month plan for 10 years comes out to a mere $12,000. Adding a line to a family plan obviously costs much less than that.

Seems like it makes financial sense to put your teenage daughter under your cell phone plan. Your welcome kids. Feel free to show your parents the math and remember: you can’t put a price on health.

2 replies on “On Teens Mobile Phones And Sexting”

A $100/month plan for 10 years comes out to $12000, but no such plan exists. Plan costs will also inflate over that time period. Also, these are all nominal values not taking general-economy inflation into account — for a meaningful comparison you need to consider real values with respect to some fixed point in time. Comparing costs and expenses in expectation would be interesting, but this math is too simplified to be informative.

@Jeff Walden:

We’re really only looking at a small period (15/16-20) statistically when it’s most common, or 13-20 if you want to take the definition of “teen” to heart. Either is less than 10. It’s inflated intentionally to over compensate.

For most people it’s $10-20 on top of their existing plan to add a line unlimited texting for another $10-20 for a total of $20-$40 per additional line. That’s the cost of paying for another phone. Our ability to predict phone plan pricing is harder to predict than the general economy. Again it’s already inflated to compensate for any economic changes. Almost too much so. We could double it again, and it’s still less than the cost of a heart attack.

I recall reading the average cell phone bill is $60-70 for the past few years for one line, so assuming $100 to tack on a line is still way over inflated.

I think the numbers still stand, the cost of a cell phone is less than that of a heart attack unless health care costs either tank (unlikely) or cell phone bills increase at an almost unthinkable rate.

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