Digital habits across generations

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

Instructions

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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?

Discussion

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by Baibuabucha on Sat, 06/11/2021 - 05:12

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Certainly, I use smartphone and social media much more my parents. I'm addicted to it and use it all the time, because I feel like I can't stop receiving some interesting information, knowledge, and several issues from social media, which are very useful for me. Nevertheless, I think it is a little bit toxic to my mental health due to negative information, shock news and also my jealousy of others' well-being, so I try to cut myself off from social media but I always suffer. As a result, I'm always complained about too much using social media by my parents, who rarely use social media and don't prefer following news.

Submitted by LamVanPhuong on Thu, 04/11/2021 - 14:57

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i think it's me because I can't leave my phone for many hours. Actually i used to consider about this but i can't stop use the phone because because apart from entertainment i also use it to study and work.

Submitted by Phyo Thandar Nwe on Wed, 27/10/2021 - 14:14

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Yeah , it’s the problem we facing in this advanced technological era.
I am also addicted to my phone.Sometimes feel guilty for so much time spending on social media.But on the other hand it is good to have contact with families and friends especially during pandemic when we can’t meet in person.As early adopters parents to mobile devices and internet, it’s difficult to tell their children to reduce screen time.I think we should change the ways we use those in order to set a good example for children.As for generations above us ,these advanced technology made them to get close contact with their families and friends virtually.I think ,it’s good for them because of that they don’t feel lonely and can contact again with their longtime-no-see friends.

Submitted by febernarde on Mon, 18/10/2021 - 23:25

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Definitely, I'm the person who used most smartphone in my house. My brother used so much too, but I think I'm more addicted, it's something that bothers me, but I can't stop using all the time LOL.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 13:11

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I use more time mobile phone than others. I'm not in social media app. I'm only use study purpose.

Submitted by Dariusz on Wed, 18/08/2021 - 10:09

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I'm afraid it's me. I use my smartphone almost constantly. I have recently realized that I am constantly connected to social media and apps, still in front of my screen. I must change my habit.
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Submitted by iEdd on Tue, 20/07/2021 - 23:02

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In my family, my wife is who uses the smartphone the most. Mainly for her work, but I think she has a sort of adiction with social media. In the past I was near to fall in that ritym, but I realized how harmfull it could be to my life and professional performance. So, I've been downplaying the time I spend on it

Submitted by math_coder on Sat, 26/06/2021 - 17:48

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Hi dear. How long did it take to done this article? (Is this question was true?)
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Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 27/06/2021 - 14:53

In reply to by math_coder

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Hello math_coder,

That's nearly correct. Instead of 'to done' you should say 'to do': 'How long did it take to do this article?'

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team