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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Average: 4.2 (97 votes)

Submitted by IKEDA on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 18:59

The most smartphone user around me is me. If I have time, I always flick my phone's screen. I think I need to be apart from my smartphone a bit though.

Submitted by Nobu1230 on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 12:54

I and My wife are most using phone.we always use smartphone and internet to search everything and contact with people.It is both of private and worktime.on the other hand,my mother is using phone less than father can hardly use is too difficult for him.
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Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 11:43

Well, as I spend so much time far away from the computer I need my smartphone to be online and to search, when it's needed, on the Internet. Almost all my favorite sites for buying, reading, studying, and communicating have their own mobile apps and I use them. I don't watch TV (in the very rare case) so even news I catch on the Internet. Yeap, I have to admit that I'm a kind of addicted to Facebook because it's my almost only way to interact with my friends but I try to keep the balance between real and virtual life.

Submitted by Davis Mitchell on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 15:10

In fact, I spend to much time in smartphone amoung my family. When I wake up , firstly, I look in my screen and сheck messages. I think this is so dependence but technology can give us more informations about our world. My grandparents always ask me : "How open this ?", "How use it ?", "How close this ?" and "HOW WORK THIS?" ( I`m so love this) . Of course, I`m helping them. It`s not bad, because we can connect in real or online life. Teenagers helping their grandparents. Somedays, our grandchildren have to teach us their future technology.

Submitted by mahiro on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 07:23

My father and mother doesn't use the phone very much at home. But I often using the phone. However I don' t use the phone at outside. Because I thinking that using the phone is bad manners. So I using the phone only at home. I often play soccer game on the phone when I using the phone. That's my break in the doing homework. And I often listen to music. It's also my hobby. But I careful that not use the often. I think that family conversation is very important.

Submitted by Matveeva Masha on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 16:00

i think it is me and my friends, because i am always in front of screen. I use the Internet to learn, communication with my friends, find the nessecary information, read book. my life depends on the mother often use her phone or laptop to work, but she sometimes takes a break from social networks and the internet. my grandmother often use phone to call somebody, but she rarely use the internet. for her it is too difficult.

Submitted by Risa on Mon, 20/07/2020 - 07:32

I think my father is most using phones among close to me. Because he is busy with work, and he checks work on his phone on a holiday. But I use on my phone at long time, too. I usually using my phone when I search for something, check my SNS and listen to music. I spend so much time on social media. As SNS is boundless, so time passes as soon as I see it. That is my waste time. In these days we can’t go out because of the coronavirus, so we spent many hours on using phone. I want to be careful by how to use phone. 

Submitted by Juanfelipeca on Fri, 10/07/2020 - 04:09

I can't imagine my grandfather's using Facebook, they are so old. Although this generation spends so much time on social media, it's so sad.

Submitted by martin olivares on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 18:36

Being honest, my family and I spend too much time in our iphones and truly i dont know why! we dont have any problems or anything like that im definitely going to propose a decrease in the time we each spends on our iphones

Submitted by antinaoki on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 08:07

were not really using the phone a lot in my family,but the person uses smartphone the most is me.but latetly my dad is starting to use the youtube to recieving the informations so he dont need to watch tv all the time waiting for one news that he is interested in.i use the smartphone to do something quick most of the time ,but i do most of my stuff on the conputer because its really fats.