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 (99 votes)

Submitted by TataRyt on Sun, 15/10/2023 - 22:07


I suppose that my 12-year-old sister uses her smartphone much more often than I do at my 20. I think that my generation has an addiction to social media while sister's generation is more addicted to mobile games.

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Submitted by gabbcard on Thu, 10/08/2023 - 00:36


I agree with this text, I'm 37 and I think that it is important cut off from the digital world on weekends, but my children and my mom love to spend a lot of time on their phones.

Submitted by samueltrujilomoreno on Wed, 28/06/2023 - 01:34


teenagers and childs are the ones who most use the phones, usually all the family have one and used it, but they use it more often

Submitted by Ericaachinte. on Wed, 21/06/2023 - 01:37


My parents, my sister, and I rarely use it. My nephew uses the phone more.

Submitted by Ericaachinte. on Wed, 21/06/2023 - 01:26


In my family, my nephew uses the phone more. My parents, my sister, and I rarely use it.

Submitted by Augustus09 on Mon, 05/06/2023 - 03:05


My mom uses her phone the most but not just for using social media or other useless things. She uses it everyday for checking email, texting with customers, updating numbers for her whole company and so on.

Submitted by uyenhua on Tue, 30/05/2023 - 10:36


My husband uses his phone the most in my family. After his working day, after the time for our son,

almost his time is for his smartphone. Maybe my son like to play some game on smart device, however, I

prevent him from this and he only has around 15 - 30 minutes on smart phone everyday.

Submitted by Zdklin on Thu, 04/05/2023 - 18:31


Honestly, I'm the one who use the phone the most in my family. I spend lots of my time on using social media . I've made lots of plans to cut it off but I can't do it still. Using social media can really miss out on spending time to meet with my friends. I am used to stay alone in my room watching the films or using social media instead of going out with someone. I know ,it's bad but I can't.

Submitted by Ibrahimyousef on Thu, 04/05/2023 - 16:05


Actually , In my family we often uses the smartphone on social media to connect surf the internet ,but my brother used mobile to play games so is very addictive.
In my friend use to social media ( inestgram and tik tok) is very violent.