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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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Intermediate: B1

Comments

I think that they both use their smartphones equality.

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!

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.

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

All of them!

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 :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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