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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Submitted by Alexander on Mon, 27/05/2024 - 08:35


I think all members of my family and friends use phones, especially the youth generations. Among us only dad doesn't use smartphone and makes only calls from phone. But I think it's because of his age, old generations struggling to use new techologies and social media. So, the young generation is likely to be more dependet on phones. 

Submitted by Irenity on Sat, 13/04/2024 - 16:15


The time changes always, so nowadays, old generation gets closer to the youth, especially with the question of the usage the social nets. 

Submitted by Safe_Mode on Sun, 11/02/2024 - 08:37


I try to use smartphone only when I really need it. Actually, I'm not attracted to so much now. I think I've already grew up from age when you like to play with it and always spend time joining on social media, messengers and so on feeling good of oportunity to do it. Now I use smartphone for what it was made for - helping for everyday life. I can't say the same about my girlfriend) She's always online: insta, telegram. She spend more time on her phone than in real life. Social media can make great work. My mother found my uncle through this stuff, for example. He has been lost for thirty years.

Submitted by DzhusAngela on Tue, 30/01/2024 - 10:51


In my family my sister use phone constantly.I nthink it is addiction.She has 10 years.But my mum use social media too.Unlike my sister and mother I want setting a better example and try use smartphone sometimes,because I see benefits when I live in real moment and not to miss oun on my life.My grandparents use smartphone too.

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Submitted by nnurainii on Wed, 24/01/2024 - 07:12


In my family, I think it is me who uses the most phones. but I use my phone, not just for social media. I use it to look for information, to watch interesting podcasts, or to make videos and photos. Yeah, I spend much more time on my phone.

but if it's among my friends, I think it's not me. because I have a friend who spends much more time on her phone than me. I have two friends, and every time we hang out and try to have a deep talk, one of my friends can't focus on the topic. because she always takes her phone and checks her phone. and sometimes it's annoying.

Submitted by Toan3002 on Wed, 27/12/2023 - 15:38


I deny that I am the one who uses the smartphone the most in my family. I normally spend a lot of time using social media. I have made study plans on Google Calendar, but I am not obeying those plans. Using social media makes me miss out on spending time hanging out with my friends and taking part in outdoor activities. On the weekend, I just hold my phone and surf Facebook and YouTube instead of going outside to enjoy the fresh air and go to the cafe with friends.

Submitted by Matth.Mz_25 on Sat, 11/11/2023 - 21:18


I think that in my family my sister use her phone the most. It's because I have a tablet, my brother have a laptop and my parents typically don't use their phones to much. And I think that I need to reduce time, which I spend on my tablet and instead improve my English or spend time with my family.

Submitted by betelf on Sun, 22/10/2023 - 17:00


Among my family, my sister uses it the most. Among my friends, I believe I use it the most.

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.