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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 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

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.

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 .

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

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.

I'm using mobile phone the most among the familiar people.
I always use it. Many of my friends use it too, but I probably use it the most. It is very needed to get in touch with friends and listen to music.
I think I can't live without my cell phone.

My granchildren use the phone the most in my family. They like to be in contact with friends. I´m 76, I don't use the cell frequently but I have to recognize that it helps me to be more in contact with my family, I can see them everyday and enjoy what they are doing at the moment. It's much better than a photo.

The most smartphone user around me is me. If I have time, I always flick my phone's screen. I think I need to be apart from my smartphone a bit though.

I and My wife are most using phone.we always use smartphone and internet to search everything and contact with people.It is both of private and worktime.on the other hand,my mother is using phone less than me.my father can hardly use it.it is too difficult for him.

Well, as I spend so much time far away from the computer I need my smartphone to be online and to search, when it's needed, on the Internet. Almost all my favorite sites for buying, reading, studying, and communicating have their own mobile apps and I use them. I don't watch TV (in the very rare case) so even news I catch on the Internet.
Yeap, I have to admit that I'm a kind of addicted to Facebook because it's my almost only way to interact with my friends but I try to keep the balance between real and virtual life.

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