The thumb generation has got some company. A new study released Thursday found that fully 72 per cent of US adults now use text messaging - a form of communication that was once the nearly exclusive province of teenagers.

The study by the Pew Research Centre found that adults still have a long way to go to catch up to the texting habits of youths. Teens ages 12 to 17 send receive an average of 50 texts a day, while adult texters make do with just 10.

But the findings indicated a sharp rise in the last year in the number of adult texters - from 65 per cent to 72 per cent. However, the increased popularity has a downside: some 57 per cent of adults said they had received spam text messages on their cellphones.

The study found that nine in 10 cellular phone users said their devices make them feel safer and help them in arranging plans with friends and family. Indeed, 65 per cent of adults with phones have slept with their phones on or right next to their bed.

Adults are still far less likely to see their phone as an entertainment device, however. Some 60 per cent of teenagers said they used the phone to entertain themselves when bored, versus 39 per cent of adults.

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