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 Trang Luu on Sat, 25/02/2023 - 03:59


Nowadays, people around me are using their smart phone all day until they go to bed. Young people are joining the most. They use for their studying, their working...meaning that their smart phone help them to connect to anyone and anywhere in a fastest way.
Unlike positive young people, my niece is an addicted one. She always dreams about a newest one. She use it to chat with people in different countries through the night. She really missed out on spending time with her parent and her friends.

Submitted by jmajo on Fri, 23/12/2022 - 15:57


In my family we all use the phone equally and none of us consider the phone more than a useful tool, but I have a couple of friends whom are really addict to their phones, and I’m pretty sure their would get a bit crazy if they loose their phone or if they have a connectivity issue with their smartphones.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

Submitted by Eman Samir on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 18:44


My older brother. He is almost always on Facebook sharing posts and videos about football. I think he spends eights hours a day on social media at the very least.

Submitted by YuliaMelenchuk on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 10:38


In my family I am the most addicted in the my phone. There is my whole life, My mom also use her phone to make a call or to read something she wants

Submitted by zhafira_2003 on Wed, 05/10/2022 - 08:05


I can grandfather social media

Submitted by zhafira_2003 on Wed, 05/10/2022 - 08:03


I can teen like smartphone

Submitted by zhafira_2003 on Wed, 05/10/2022 - 08:00


I think the smartphone is very smart

Submitted by farhadwahaj on Sat, 03/09/2022 - 06:51


I am a father of four children, I am the one who uses the most smartphone at home the reason is that I am teaching with my colleagues, and I usually do my work through my smartphone. But my children are keener than me to use the smartphone and play games in it, and they are addicted to the smartphone, however, I always tell to them to get off the phone, even, though I have broken some smartphones due to this reason.

Submitted by vANISH2004 on Thu, 01/09/2022 - 16:35


I think I use my devices such as laptop, mobile phone, computer, etc. the most among my family. But It doesn't feel like an addiction because such devices are used mostly to studying and rare online conversations, so that I wouldn't say something against it, although nowadays more and more people are neglecting their real life because of online globalization

Submitted by Nandar Su Hlaing on Wed, 10/08/2022 - 15:11


Actually, including me I always use phone the most one in my family or friends. So I remind by myself not to waste my valuable time. You have many things to do. Please emphasis your work like that.