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 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.

Submitted by naru on Mon, 29/06/2020 - 06:22

It's maybe me or my older brother. First, Recentlly the time staying at home have increased due to corona virus. And at the same time the time using mobile have increased. Especially, As for me I don't have TV in my room so that I often watch some video by kind of Youtube when I have the time. But It's not only game or listening to music but also useing to study. I think it's not bad thing to use mobile. Everything depends on how you use it.

Submitted by Y on Sun, 28/06/2020 - 16:12

I think me and my friends. My parents don't use smartphones better than I because my parents don't have time to work. Smartphones are not just for making phone calls and emails. If you have a smartphone, you can quickly find out what you do not know, you can listen to music, play games, and even watch videos. In my free time, I listen to music and watch videos of my favorite artists. In addition, I often call my friends. Because that leads to stress relief. Smartphones are very convenient. However, I must be careful not to get in trouble. Recently, I spend a lot of time at home because of the corona virus, so I tend to use smartphones. I want to know how many hours you spend on your smartphone each day.

Submitted by ryota on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 12:25

I use my phone the best among my family or friends. When I am a high school students, I used it to contact my friends and play game. My family used it about an hour a day. On the other hand, I used it for about three hours a day. But, now I have more time to use it. Because of corona virus, I take online classes. I use it to take classes and submit homework. as a result, I use it about six hours a day. I think phone is a very important thing to manage daily life. If I don't have phone, my life will be very difficult.

Submitted by Osuke on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 10:30

It is me who uses the phone the most in the family. To be honest, I use it all the time. Because it has become an essential part of our lives. But I don’t use it when I do school classes and assignments. A smartphone is a very useful tool for playing games, listening to music, and talking with my friends in our free time. However, doing too much is dangerous. The reason is that it can lead to addiction. So be careful about how to use it. That’s why I think about the rules myself and be careful how to use the smartphone.

Submitted by Riko on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 06:59

I think it's me in my family and friends. I use my smartphone to play games, listen to music and chat with my friends. Especially, I use Instagram for long time. Nowadays, we can't go outside so I spend many time with my smartphone. When I do my homework, I mute my phone's sound.