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Digital habits across generations

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Today's grandparents are joining their grandchildren on social media, but the different generations' online habits couldn't be more different. The over-55s are joining Facebook in increasing numbers, meaning that they will soon be the site's second biggest user group, with 3.5 million users aged 55–64 and 2.9 million over-65s.

Sheila, aged 59, says, 'I joined to see what my grandchildren are doing, as my daughter posts videos and photos of them. It's a much better way to see what they're doing than waiting for letters and photos in the post. That's how we did it when I was a child, but I think I'm lucky I get to see so much more of their lives than my grandparents did.'

Ironically, Sheila's grandchildren are less likely to use Facebook themselves. Children under 17 are leaving the site – only 2.2 million users are under 17 – but they're not going far from their smartphones. Chloe, aged 15, even sleeps with her phone. 'It's my alarm clock so I have to,' she says. 'I look at it before I go to sleep and as soon as I wake up.'

Unlike her grandmother's generation, Chloe's age group is spending so much time on their phones at home that they are missing out on spending time with their friends in real life. Sheila, on the other hand, has made contact with old friends from school she hasn't heard from in forty years. 'We use Facebook to arrange to meet all over the country,' she says. 'It's changed my social life completely.'

Teenagers might have their parents to thank for their smartphone and social media addiction as their parents were the early adopters of the smartphone. Peter, 38 and father of two teenagers, reports that he used to be on his phone or laptop constantly. 'I was always connected and I felt like I was always working,' he says. 'How could I tell my kids to get off their phones if I was always in front of a screen myself?' So, in the evenings and at weekends, he takes his SIM card out of his smartphone and puts it into an old-style mobile phone that can only make calls and send text messages. 'I'm not completely cut off from the world in case of emergencies, but the important thing is I'm setting a better example to my kids and spending more quality time with them.'

Is it only a matter of time until the generation above and below Peter catches up with the new trend for a less digital life?

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Comments

Yeah maybe it's me haha. In my age right now, my smartphone is very useful for doing my excercise, explore what did happen about the world, and having fun too. But, I really want to make myself not to addicted in using smartphone.

As you know, there are a lot of gadgets in the most of houses, such as mobile phones, tablets or laptots.

What I am truly passionate about social media, I used to chat with my friends every days but now I am useing to work. I am owner of a gym so I need to do marketing about my business, It's a wonderful tool!

But I don't the unique who is addict to social media. My dad spend time in front of a screen, playing games or chatting with friends. In the other hand, my mum doesn't often use the social media since she doesn't know to use the mobile phone.

I think that the old generations use the new social networks for communicating with old friends and, for see videos, news, digital books, to a difference in the parents are that maybe they used Facebook, for example, to see videos, pictures, more entertainment, and the new generations use differents social networks like Instagram, Whatsapp and this are for communicate and are more fun.

It's very funny for every time my grandmother wants me to show her more on her phone and she talks to the whole echo family, I love it when sometimes her video call comes to me.

My brother is most mobile phone users. His phone is never get off from his hand. I don't know what he do at that square-light thing.

My father uses his phone every day because he likes to play with it; also call his sisters, cousins and every people of this world. Is like an addict.

Hello, I want to talk about using smartphones in my family. Firstly me and my sister, we use our phones much more than our parents and younger brothers. Because we usually play and learn all-day on our phones. But my parents don't use their phones much more than us. And finally, my younger brothers don't take their smartphones without consent from our parents so they don't use the phones much.

there are three kinds of people to use smartphone or social media in my family. My parents have been learnt how to use smartphone and Facebook to connect with us and their friends. My brother and I use internet for learning. And my sisters are addiction. They can not be cut off from their smartphone. They like to chat with their friends on Facebook, they usually look for somethings news and buy them. They spend a lot of time to read the novels on the internet.

My sister is probably the one who uses her phone the most among the family, she can use her phone up to 12-13 hours nonstop listening to YouTube, Instagram and sometimes calling her friends, technology and social media is great but people must learn to discipline themselves while using it

My younger sister is Social media addict. She's always on FB, Instagram,Twitter and other Social media handles. She disturbed me a lot, every now and then she wants me to snap and video her bcos, she's always sharing photos and videos on FB and other Social media handles

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