Creative Brand Communications


October 13, 2023

Call declined: 18-24s refuse to pick up the phone says new research by Sky Mobile.

Download images here: 

Download/watch the video here

Phone calls are fast becoming a relic of the past as over a quarter (26%) of Gen Z say they actively shirk speaking to people on the phone.​

New research released today has revealed almost a third (32%) of Gen Z will rarely make a phone call with a fifth (20%) finding it weird when they receive one. Of those surveyed, 36% admit they would only make a call to locate their mates on a night out and around one in five (19%) would only make a voice call in an emergency.​

Gen Z dislike picking up the phone so much that over half (57%) even blank calls from their parents. However, it’s not just calls they are ignoring, as four in ten (41%) have muted a group chat with their mum and dad.

​The intergenerational study was conducted by Sky Mobile who polled 1,000 parents and 1,000 Gen Z’ers aged 18-25 to help keep families connected as millions of students head off to university for the first time.

Those aged 18 – 25 prefer to communicate using messaging apps like WhatsApp (31%), texts (28%), and Snapchat (14%) over picking up phone (10%) but nearly three-quarters (71%) of parents say a quick phone call is the best way to keep connected.

Talking on the phone feels awkward for over a third of Gen-Z (34%), with almost a quarter (24%) saying a phone call is an absolute no-go. When it comes to being pre-warned, 47% agreed they would prefer someone to text them before calling, so they know to expect it.

Six in ten parents of kids aged 13-25 (60%) believe the younger generation are scared of answering calls compared to previous generations with 64% agreeing they only hear from their children via WhatsApp and text.

The research also explored messaging between parents and children – with over half (59%) revealing their father figure has responded to big news such as new births and promotions via text with just the mere ‘Thumbs Up’ emoji.

The top ten awkward messaging mishaps that parents do when communicating their kids

1. Reply ‘ok’ to everything (41%)
2. Signing off texts with lots of XXX’s (30%)
3. Replying to big or good news with a thumbs up (29%)
4. Being a victim of autocorrect (28%)
5. Sending random photos or jokes without context (22%)
6. Using proper punctuation in messages (21%)
7. Writing ‘haha’ as ‘ha ha’ (19%)
8. Using emojis incorrectly (19%)
9. Sending images with motivational quotes (17%)
10. Using LOL as lots of love rather than laugh out loud (15%)

When it comes to texting, nearly a third of parents (28%) find themselves looking up words and acronyms their kids use in messages before replying. Whilst almost a quarter (24%) of parents believe their kids use slang to confuse them on purpose.

However, 27% of Gen Z said that if their parents used slang when communicating they would feel embarrassed, but one in six admitted to getting frustrated with their parents when they don’t understand their message off the mark.

Roadman (10%), Peng (10%) and bare (10%) came up top in the terms that confuse parents the most followed by OMG (9%) and boujee (8%).

It also emerged 35% find it amusing when their parents have no idea what emojis mean, with 27% per cent thinking their parents are clueless about the ones they are sending themselves.
38% of parents admitted they hardly ever use emojis and if they do they try to play it safe with two-fifths (40%) revealing it feels like learning a new language.

To help struggling parents, dad and TV personality, Jeff Brazier has been enlisted to guide parents and students on keeping connected as a new term at university starts.

Jeff said “I used to think I was up to speed with all the texting tricks of the younger generation. But after I partnered with Sky Mobile to visit some lovely students, I’ve officially been schooled!

Keeping connected to my kids is super important particularly as they embark on the big challenges in their lives. So, I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to learn from some of the digital natives of our time!”

Research from the brand also revealed nearly two-fifths (37%) of parents still pay for their kid’s contract even after they leave home with over half (59%) agreeing to pay for it so they are more confident in being able to reach them.

Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sky Mobile said: “As a parent of university aged kids myself, I know all parents want to stay connected as their kids start a new term and with Sky Mobile it’s easier than ever. All unused data rolls into one Sky Piggybank that can be shared, meaning students can get a data top up whenever they need it to stay in touch… by message, not phone call!”

Sky Mobile has 99% network coverage across the UK, and customers can roll over unused data each month, saving it in their Sky Piggybank for when they need it. For more information, visit



Latest Articles