Digital habits across generations

Digital habits across generations

Read an article about how people at different ages use computers and smartphones to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text

Today's grandparents are joining their grandchildren on social media, but the different generations' online habits couldn't be more different. In the UK 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 in the UK 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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Profile picture for user dinhhang

Submitted by dinhhang on Fri, 08/05/2020 - 08:06

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.

Submitted by Aaron Wong on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 09:19

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

Submitted by Samdickson on Wed, 15/04/2020 - 07:52

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
Profile picture for user OlaIELTS

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 14/04/2020 - 18:31

The most user of phone is my family.

Submitted by Daudau0601 on Tue, 14/04/2020 - 16:20

In my family, i think me and sister who use smart phone the most. I am always near my phone, i use it for surfing internet every time except bedtime or studying. Maybe my friend is just like me because we are teenagers . On the other hand, my parents rarely use smart phone, they only use it for calling when they need and they don't use it for surfing the internet because they are too busy, they don't have time. Nevertheless , i still want my parents use social network to share their life and know what am i doing like other my friend's parents. Especially, i want to they have relax time and smart phone which make my parents relax

Submitted by fathibba34 on Wed, 08/04/2020 - 18:21

Sincerly, i use my smartphone all the time, but i'm not addicted to it. i use because i have a lot off programs that help me in my every day life and work. At i home i'm trying to use it just when need it and giving time for my family after a long and tired day of work.

Submitted by conejo on Sun, 05/04/2020 - 03:26

I Think my hushband is the most mobile user. He tells us that he uses it for looking at paintings and listening to arts lecture, but I don´t believe that. And my son has an old-style mobile phone but he speaks every day with the calvo´s man.

Submitted by Mamta Gusain on Fri, 27/03/2020 - 10:17

I am not sure about my friends. but, yes, in my family everybody use their phone constantly except my mother. and these days we all have crossed the limit. as we are bound to stay inside as per guidelines of Ministry of health India due to COVID-19 My father and brother play games on smart phone constantly. My sister sometimes play game, watch video and busy with her friends on video call. i also use my phone. but not that much, i use social media to check my feeds only. I use smart phone as a tool to grow my knowledge. and i prefer using laptop rather than smart phone. as i surf lots of English learning sites, do exercise to improve English level. In today's life Smartphone has become one of our need. but we have to use it in a balanced way so that we can enjoy our family life as well as virtual life.

Submitted by Tony youssef on Wed, 04/03/2020 - 12:10

I guess it will be me who uses the smartphone but i use it most of the time in English learning and other stuff related to my college and i spend a little time on using Facebook and other social media

Submitted by Selma1987 on Tue, 03/03/2020 - 13:22

Actually me and my husband using smartphone too much and my daughter don't like this habit, although they are watching TV and YouTube mostly.