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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 3-2. Mothers' Media Activities (2) Means of Communication with Fellow Moms


Regarding mothers' media activities, the results of analyzing communication means with fellow moms indicated that mobile phones/smartphones are used most frequently for both calls and text messaging (texting). Cohort difference was seen in SNS communication, as the younger generation showed a higher usage rate.

In Section 2, mothers' media activities will be discussed through six types of means. Landlines, mobile phones/smartphones, PC emails, mobile phone and smartphone texting, online community sites, and instant messengers (such as LINE) are all used to communicate with fellow moms.

Mobile phones/smartphones are the mainstream means of communication used between fellow moms

Figure 3-2-1 shows the results of the survey enquiring about the frequency of use for each method when communicating with fellow moms. The results are classified on a rating scale of 4 grades (very often/often/rarely/none) classified into three age groups: under 20s, 30s, and over 40s. In addition, the six communication means with fellow moms were generalized into three categories: "calls" (landlines, mobile phones, smartphones), "emails/texts" (PC, mobile phones, smartphones), and "SNS" (online community sites, instant messengers such as LINE).

Table 3-2-1 shows the frequency of communication based on the results of Figure 3-2-1 rearranged into two groups: "very often/often" and "rarely/none."

Regarding "calls," more mothers use "mobile phones/smartphones" than "landlines" to communicate. The percentage of mothers who use "landlines" "very often/often" is low across the board in any age group (under 20s 1.7% < 30s 6.4% < over 40s 9.4%) with 95.7% of mothers under 20s using it rarely. On the other hand, the percentage of mothers who use "mobile phones/smartphones" "very often/often" is high in all age groups (under 20s 76.2% < 30s 76.5% < over 40s 70.2%). Above all, the percentage of mothers who use it "very often" was: 49.6% of under 20s, 46.2% of 30s, and 39.9% of over 40s, all in excess of 50%.

Regarding "emails/texting," a large majority of respondents prefer to communicate with "mobile phones/smartphones" rather than "PCs." The percentage of mothers who use "PC emails" "very often/often" is low in any age group (under 20s 6.1% < 30s 12.6% < over 40s 14.9%) with under 20s' percentage being less than half of that of the 30s' and over 40s'. However, the percentage of mothers who use "mobile phones/smartphones texts" "very often/often" is high in all age groups (under 20s 83.7% < 30s 90.8% > over 40s 89.6%). Moreover, mothers who use it "very often" totaled 57.3% for those under 20s, 69.8% for those in their 30s, and 69.7% for those over 40s, all in excess of 50%.

Overall, more than 70% of the mothers make calls and over 80% use texts by mobile phones/smartphones indicating that they are the mainstream means of communication among mothers.

Figure 3-2-1 Means of communication with fellow moms

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Table 3-2-1 Frequency of contact with fellow moms by means of communication

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Cohort difference is seen in SNS communication with fellow moms

Regarding "SNS," differences among age groups were found both in "online community sites" and in "instant messengers (such as LINE)." The percentages of mothers who use "online community sites" "very often/often" were; under 20s 42.1% > 30s 27.0% > over 40s 15.2% and the percentages of mothers who use "instant messengers (such as LINE)" "very often/often" were; under 20s 52.4% > 30s 32.9% > over 40s 18.1%. Nearly half of the mothers under 20s use "SNS" as a communication method with 22.6% of them using "online community sites" and 35.8% of them using "instant messengers (such as LINE)" "very often."

There is a trend among younger generations to have higher usage rates of social media; under 20s > 30s > over 40s.

Mothers communicate through texting rather than calling

Here, we compare the result of this survey to that of "Survey on Time Spent for Information and Communication Media and Information Behaviors 2012" (the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Institute for Information and Communications Policy, 2013).

In the survey by the MIC, the users and time spent on call-based communications ("mobile phones" "landlines" "Internet telephony") and text-based communications ("social media" "messengers/chats" "texting/SMS") are analyzed.

First of all, the time spent on each call-based communication was longer in the following order; "mobile phones" > "Internet telephony (such as Skype/LINE)" > "landlines," in the survey by MIC. This corresponds to this survey's result indicating the mothers' communication means being through "mobile phones/smartphones" > "landlines." This survey did not enquire about "Internet telephony," which consists of mostly free services, but is expected to grow as another option for communication in the future.

According to the survey by MIC, regarding the time spent on text-based communications, it was longer in the following order; "texting/SMS" > "social media (Twitter/mixi/Facebook)" > "messengers/chats." Although it is generalized, it can be assumed that this corresponds to this survey's result indicating "texting" > "instant messengers (such as LINE)."

As an overall trend according to the MIC survey, text-based communications, "texting/SMS" in particular, had higher usage rates than call-based communications. Even in this survey, more than 80% of the mothers are communicating by texting showing the tendency of text-based communications being used more than call-based communications. This might be related to the trend of Generation 76, who are the over 30s group, feeling more comfortable in making use of text-based communications than having direct conversations.

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