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Thursday, 07/08/14

Techie Teens Are Shaping How We Communicate

by Angela Peacock, Planner/Buyer


As I was drinking my latte and watching BBC News before work, an interview with an 8 year old girl caught my attention more than usual, it seemed as though she understood this ever growing technological world more than me at the age of 35!

A report then followed regarding the latest Ofcom Communications Report, with one part in particular taking me back to my teenage years when my mum and dad would go mental at the latest home phone bill due to me phoning my friends on their mobiles for hours on end to arrange social occasions.   

As a result of growing up in the digital age, 12-15 year olds are developing fundamentally different communication habits than older generations, even compared to the advanced 16-24 age group.

Children aged 12-15 are turning away from talking on the telephone. Just 3% of their communications time is spent making voice calls, while the vast majority (94%) is text based - such as instant messaging and social networking.

By contrast, older generations still find it good to talk: 20% of UK adults' communications time is spent on the phone. While adults also embrace digital text-based communications, the traditional email is most popular (used for 33% of their time spent communicating) compared to just 2% among 12-15s.

Nowadays parents must be delighted by the fact that only 3% of 12-15's are using the actual phone compared to when I was their age!

I have to be honest I do think it's a bit sad that gone are the days when you would just pick up the phone and chat to someone.  Even on special occasions most people will Facebook nowadays to say happy birthday rather than call.  I must confess I am guilty of that, but only with people I am not close to. 

Anyway, I love technology and social media, but as the late great Bob Hoskins used to remind us so often "it's good to talk"!

Here are some more facts from the Ofcom Study and a link to the full report if you want read it,    

  • The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, finds that six year olds claim to have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds.  Also, more than 60% of people aged 55 and over have a below average DQ score (Digital Quotient)
  • We are communicating more than sleeping - the average UK adult now spends more time using media or communications (8 hours 41 minutes) than they do sleeping (8 hours 21 minutes - the UK average)
  • Whilst tablet use is spread across generations, smartphones ownership differs by age.  Almost nine in ten (88%) of 16-24's own a smart phone, compared to 14% among those 65+

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