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?

Discussion

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Language level

Intermediate: B1

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.

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?)

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

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Thu, 24/06/2021 - 19:54

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I think that my friends are more addicted to social media than my family. On the one hand, my friends are always writing, reading or watching videos on their phones even when they're talking to other people. For me that habit is impolite, and I think they are missing out on spending funny time with people. On the second hand, I consider the majority of my family members no addicted to social media or apps. However I have an aunt who loves playing apps on her phone even when we're eating dinner as a family. She's playing with her phone at every moment. Finally, if you ask me if I'm addicted to my phone, I will tell you that I'm not addicted enough, so I mean I use my phone every day, but for academic purposes. I mean I learned English on my own with my cellphone, and I need it every day to study English. Even though the internet is used a lot by me, I dislike social media, I consider it so tiresome.

Submitted by Paula Bermúdez… on Thu, 13/05/2021 - 03:09

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I feel like my friends are more addicted to technology than my family. On the one hand, my friends are teenagers and most of them prefer to spend a lot of time with their phones than go out and share with other people. I think that happens because the apps are pretty addictive, for example TikTok or Instagram. On the other hand, my relatives spend less time with their phones because they think that the most important thing is to share time with family. And lastly, I guess that sometimes I use much time on my social media and I don't like it, because with that time you can do other important things like read a book, learn a new language or other skills.

Submitted by Mai Khin Nway Shein on Wed, 21/04/2021 - 16:15

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It's me! The most using smart phone! Until about three months ago... When I woke up, I picked up the phone, than used social media, played game, watched movies and chatted with friends except working time. I even used my phone while I was eating. How bad is it? But, I can try to control my self, reduce using social media and playing game. Now, I can replace them by reading the Bible, praying for my country to release from Junta, watching the Bible study lives, studying English to improve myself, doing workout.

Submitted by desouza on Wed, 07/04/2021 - 19:16

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Sometimes I think, I can't without live my mobile phone, it is not just the phone .I keep all of my important information in my smart phone. I have a lot of pin as like as you and I can't hold inside my hand all of the information .Also I use my phone as a note book.When we bet any topic with my friend , I always check it out on internet. I was young before the internet, it was a good time without smart phone but İf we had a information any topic, we were check in the big heavy books and there are not always true. I love my smart phone and I m pretty sure that I am not addicted on internet.

Submitted by TIa vinaka on Tue, 06/04/2021 - 04:16

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I guess it's me. My friends and My family are not so addicted to smartphone and social media. so do I. but I'm into a game recently. I can't help playing the game. I used my smart phone only a few minutes per day before but after found this game I use it over 3hours or more per day.

Submitted by Frank Cuello on Wed, 31/03/2021 - 15:38

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I think we all use the smartphone in the same amount of time, which is bad because we spend at least four hours of our days in these gadgets.

Submitted by In on Sat, 27/03/2021 - 08:03

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I think that they both use their smartphones equality.

Submitted by YED on Thu, 18/03/2021 - 21:12

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It s really amazing to see how eenagers and children are comfortables withs smartphones, they use them every day and night for everything, they can forget theirs schoolbook, but never their phones!

Submitted by Rano on Tue, 16/03/2021 - 19:14

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Now the number of people ues the digital life increase in the all of the world that is effect in social life. In my family not ues much their phone. I hope to keep this behavior.

Submitted by ahmad 920 on Fri, 05/03/2021 - 13:24

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All generation on my family uses social media applications like facebook. The new generation use these apps more than an old generation.

Submitted by Verna Budi Amanda on Wed, 17/02/2021 - 03:21

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we cant deny that social media really affected our lives. Since my parents know instagram and stuffs we barely talks even if we sat to each other in a living room. I wanted to have a little chit chat with them, but they are too busy with their social media. And i hate it when i try to make a conversation but they just look at their phone screen and not into my eyes :)

Submitted by German on Tue, 16/02/2021 - 01:12

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My friends use their phones more than my family. However, my father use his phone so much, not only to call or chat but also to social media like Facebook.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Mon, 15/02/2021 - 09:24

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In my family the young generation use their smart phone to access digital habits such as tiktok, instagram, whatsapp, twitter, smart chat, messenger, face book, you tube, face time etc.

Submitted by Andrea Valencia on Mon, 08/02/2021 - 22:29

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I think my friends use their smartphones more because in this day and age they must work on the Internet. anyway my family is using more their smart phones now.

Submitted by Dmytro on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 13:47

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Nowadays digital technologies play a very important role in many dimensions of life. There are a lot of talks about addiction to smartphones. I half agree with such a statement. On the one side, it's true cause people really spend a lot of time using their gadgets. On the other side, at all times some people were addicted to something like excessive smoking, excessive eating, excessive watching TV, etc. Everything excessive is bad. Social media is not an exception. When it comes to relationships between edges, grandparents always suffer from a lack of attention to them from their grandchildren, no matter what they are doing, whether staring at their smartphones or meeting friends. Every next generation has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Submitted by kaisergeneral on Mon, 25/01/2021 - 12:50

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As Brazilian, I have to say that the use of technology it's rather different for us. My parents weren't the first generation to use smartphones, but my generation, people in theirs 18-24. Thus, it was this generation that introduced the technology to our parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, I realized people are more and more addicted to internet and smartphones in general—people don't talk with eachother on the way of work anymore, instead they keep looking at their smartphones, it's sadly became a excuse not to have social contact.

Submitted by Asni on Wed, 20/01/2021 - 23:34

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Technology has strongly dominated our lives. Its constant use has become so natural and so familiar to us that we never give a thought to the issue. Surprisingly, now that I'm endeavoring to think about it, I'm realizing that we are constantly in front of a screen, if it is not a smartphone, then it is either a computer, a tablet or a smartTV. Nobody in my family is using the phone that much, maybe because they are all adults or kids, no teenagers but yet we are using the smartTV almost the same way we used to use our smartphones. Ironically, machines have started to take control over humans, and who knows where this situation could lead us in the further future.

Submitted by Minh on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 21:43

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In the family, I think that adult people who use smartphone the most communicate or chat to works. Beside that they need to do all of thing to relate their life. Opposite with parents children use their cell phone for surf website or play games the most. Nowadays, cell phone which is essential of the life, people can not have it

Submitted by Saad786 on Sun, 10/01/2021 - 15:57

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Neither my parents nor my friends use much mobile as they are aware of its loss. Mobile phones is made only for advantages. But younger generation is using it irrelevantly

Submitted by Vlada on Fri, 08/01/2021 - 07:09

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I'm fairly sure that an enormous part of humanity addicted to different social media. However, I think that it isn't so awful how some people reckon. Social medias can make us feel less lonely cause we can communicate wit other people all over the world at any time. But we should to think for ourself that social media can't be so attractive as real life.

Submitted by Harrison on Mon, 28/12/2020 - 04:36

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Mostly, youths about or over 20-year-old are addicted with mobile and social media. And as far as I know, many teens are not influenced by social media. They are addicted in something new, for instance, video game and some new high-tech application.

Submitted by khalidait on Wed, 23/12/2020 - 12:09

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personally i think the teenagers like me and my brother use smart phone all the time , but when my parents bought smart phones too they became addiction on social media all the time

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Tue, 22/12/2020 - 14:37

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In my opinion, most youths including me spend our time by using social media.It might be dangerous for next generation.We should change our behaviours.

Submitted by _janylaa_ on Sun, 20/12/2020 - 17:13

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In my opinion I spend most of my time on the phone but there are pros and cons. The advantages of the fact that I meet and communicate with different people, get interesting and informative information from the Internet. Disadvantages that I spend time online, so you can communicate with family more, spend time outdoors and do different things

Submitted by _yuliana_dobrovolska on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 20:23

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I think I spend a lot of time on my phone, but I don't think it's very bad because I communicate with other people on social networks + during distance learning, the phone becomes a best friend

Submitted by 094311 on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 19:03

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Hmm, modern technologies are available to everyone, but what did you doubt?

Submitted by Dddddo on Wed, 16/12/2020 - 19:56

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I think our phones it’s part of our life and today it’s normal , but I should used internet rarely

Submitted by androsovichdasha on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 17:38

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My mother like the mother in the article uses Facebook for different purposes.For example, she can find necessary imformation, chat with relatives anf even play some games

Submitted by speedcuber_s on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 15:44

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This information is very interesting for me. It's funny to watch grandparents use gatgets.I'm glad to see them happy about it.

Submitted by Vlasyuk on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 15:07

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I'm more addicted to the phone, I can't be without Instagram and other messengers for a long time, but sometimes I leave my phone and spend time with my family, and sometimes I just do my homework and have no time on the phone

Submitted by NOURHAN93 on Sat, 05/12/2020 - 01:52

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i am the more addicted on my phone, actually i am forced to be online all the time cause my work depends on phone ,i admit that i am missing out on spending time with my family ,however, i am trying to cut off from mobile in weekends as i am less keen by facebook and social media .

Submitted by Ehsan on Sun, 29/11/2020 - 09:57

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Unfortunately, most people that I know, more than normal use smartphones and social media. Although technologies such as the internet, smartphones, and social media are very useful to our lives, addiction to them is very bad. For example in our family, my wife, my father, etc. use their smartphones more than usual. but I try to manage my usage.

Submitted by Viatavie on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 11:29

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In my family the person who uses his phone the most is my youngest sister, she uses it day and night

Submitted by farhad zada on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 10:20

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My brother uses his phone the most among my family. He always watches videos on various social medias and the volume of sound is always top. It is so annoying, I wish he would stop it.

Submitted by David_Tham on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 14:35

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I think, I have spend time in social too much and more than everybody in my family do.

Submitted by loveiseverything on Thu, 12/11/2020 - 06:26

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I think it is my brother. He likes playing phone games all the time when he is free, and stays up late until 3 am. He is totally addicted to phones. Because of him, I hate all games. Too bad...

Submitted by togrul01 on Sat, 31/10/2020 - 16:05

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My friends use the phone for more time than my parents. By the way, I have been addicted to my phone since the beginning of coronavirus

Submitted by Aghaton on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 13:12

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My youngest brother uses the phone most of the time in my family.I find out it is because she finds it easy to meet up with her friends who are far

Submitted by habibao.medo on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 11:08

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the one who spend a lot of time on their phones mmmm i think it is me and my brother since we have nothing to do but i am trying to reduce my time with my phone and iam trying to learn english and finding a hoppy

Submitted by HxH on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 18:02

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I think all people that I know use their phones regularly. They use it in making phone calls and entertainment as well. personally, I try to reduce my time on the phone and to use it more purposefully. In my opinion, The excessive usage of smartphone cause isolation and depression.

Submitted by shawn peter ru… on Thu, 08/10/2020 - 14:29

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as a young generation that i have 18 years old, i can't use my smartphone or computer to playing computer games or using social media, i am in social media maybe three time in a week or i have not played computer games that always i see them in propagandas for two years. i like to use social media to have strong relationship and have enjoy in my life with playing computer games but as you know there is the issue of future and i have no time for using my social instrument an etc and as you know: Without suffering, treasure is not possible

Submitted by danisep on Sat, 19/09/2020 - 22:14

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Among family and friends my nephews use a lot of their phones, tablets and consoles. They always have energy and don't like to stay over there doing nothing if they have time so they start to chat and play with their friends.

Submitted by Alia sader on Wed, 16/09/2020 - 19:13

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In fact , my husband use his smartphone the most in my family. I don ' t use my cell frequently , even , I forget that I have it . Exept when I have work .

Submitted by Roblox on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 18:07

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I prohibit my kids from using a smartphone that makes my husband is on the very top and me the second place.

Submitted by melisong56 on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 15:31

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In fact, as the young generation, I’m the one who uses the phone the most amongst all my relatives. I can spend 4 or more hours on the phone, just by scrolling on social media and look at the other things. Overtime, technology is actually cannot be separated by human. As many jobs and activities could be done by using the smartphone/computer itself.
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