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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?

Discussion

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Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

many numbers of my family use smartphones and other devices like laptops and computers but I think my parents are the less use it.

My daughter's use too much their smartphones when they are in home. I don't allowed they take the phone to school.

I'm glad to describe what my families do with their smartphones. my grandparents use it to contact with us.for my parents, they use smartphones to relax, work and socialize. as for me, I'm not addicted to it, just chat with my friends and family because it's convenient than other ways.

I hang up on the smarpthone quite often, but my boyfriend do that too mush. He's hanging up into phone even when he's eatting and i want to talking with him..It's really drives me crazy!

As a person has a smartphone addiction and as my smartphone was breakdown,I decided to not buy another smart phone and use old-style mobile to get rid of this addiction,and use my laptop instead to do my things.

Digital habits
When i owned a smatphone, i only used it to call and sent text messages. I didn't like using facebook myselves because i consided it was quite nosy while i was a secretive girl. But after that i tried to use facebook upon it, i could find and contact with old friends from school who we haven't heard from graduated.
And now i use smatphone to work, contact with my friends and entertain oneself. I also use it to learn English so i sometimes spent very much time on it...
I think Peter adjusted well his digital habit to have quality time with his family instead with his smartphone. We should do that too.

Hi
In my opinion, I think that technology is an excellent tool of communication, regrettably bad people always find ways to extort, then it´s important supervise the children in its used.

Social media has lots of benefits. But people usually, take the bad sides of social media, spending too much time with their phones, computers and tablets instead with their friends, family, basically they do not spend time with HUMAN BEINGS.

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