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Digital habits across generations

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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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Comments

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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