Teens and technology

Young people are evolving in a highly digital world

  • Dec. 23, 2013 7:00 a.m.
Georgia Robertson

Georgia Robertson

by Georgia Robertson

Contributor

It’s no secret that technology is a part of almost every teenager’s life. Most teens today have a cell phone which allows them to have some of the world’s best technology at their fingertips.

With 75 per cent of teens having cell phones with advance texting, that’s what they rely on to get in contact with people. Whether it’s to arrange plans with friends or simply asking for homework they’ve missed, not much communication is done by telephone anymore.

On average, teens send 50 text messages per day, while calling is down to an average of one to five per day – the majority of those to moms.

Phones have become so advanced that the need for basic necessities for things like cameras, flashlights, calculators, agendas, calendars and alarm clocks have declined.

Call teens lazy, but they love things that are convenient for them, which phones are.

The fact that the Internet is so easy for teens to access has contributed to 93 per cent of teens aged 12-17 being online – the largest number of any age group. Computers and Internet have become a huge part in most teenagers’ lives, squeezing itself into every family. Only eight per cent of families with teens in the household don’t have a computer, and only four per cent of homes that do have computers don’t have access to the Internet. But with 80 per cent of teens having a game console, accessing the Internet through that is simple.

Along with the 93 per cent of teens online, 73 per cent are on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Young adults spend six to eight hours interacting with people at school and sports teams. Social media is an escape for them – an outlet. Social media sites are another place for them to be, and teens are the key factor to “cool.”

The downfall to social media sites are parents. Teens want to be saying what they want to whomever they want, posting whatever picture they want without their parents getting mad and embarrassing them. Once their parents join, teens are on to the next big thing.

Facebook has become a victim of parental sabotage, falling from being voted ‘most important’ by teens last year at 42 per cent, down to 23 per cent this year. Teens use to post their life stories on Facebook, keep their Facebook friends updated on their every move of the day, and upload photos constantly, but due to “drama,” adult users, and users “over-sharing,” teens have vacated the site. However, since teens are all about not communicating face-to-face, Facebook is still relevant for messaging friends.

While Facebook has been on a downslide with teens, Twitter has been there to pick up the pieces, becoming the new most important social media network with 26 per cent of votes, and 24 per cent of teens using the site.

Compared to the average of Facebook friends at 300, you would think Twitter wouldn’t be as successful with its low average of 79 followers. But, with less drama, less parental use and with the 140-word limit reducing the chance of embarrassment and over-sharing, Twitter has become the new “it” in social media.

With technology, teens look for simple, which Twitter is. No last name required, less stress of hiding stuff from lurking parents, and it’s easier to be yourself without rude comments being made.

Camera features on cell phones have opened the door to many new apps like Instagram, Vine and SnapChat.

Instagram, with 21 per cent of teens using it, is like Twitter – full of teens getting away from drama and parents – loaded with “selfies,” cats and food. Full or real names aren’t needed, as well giving users that freedom of being unknown or harder to find.

SnapChat has become extremely popular, with five million teen users per month, due to the technology of being able to take a photo, send it, and after 10 seconds of view time, it is gone forever, without the fear of it becoming permanent, but also giving that slight thrill of someone possibly screen shooting it.

Teens love it because they can send those ugly photos to whoever they want that they wouldn’t post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Vine has also become a hit with teens, who use it as a source to laugh, a new place to post videos, and even to become recognized for their talents. Some teens have started to rely on this app for an income since if you become verified, you can make money.

The older generations are appalled at the fact that most teens these days base their lives around technology, but what they fail to see is that technology is a part of today’s society. Most school and businesses have adapted to technology, jumping on the technical band wagon.

Teens and technology seem to have grown up with each other, evolving and improving together.

 

Georgia Robertson is a Grade 12 student at Mouat Secondary school. She has been involved in a work experience program at The News for the past two months.