With the growth of technology more and more people are incorporating the use of smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, watches, and other smart devices in their daily life. According to the Washington D.C. based research company, Pew Research Center, 88 percent of teenagers ranging from ages 13-17 own a smartphone. With the constant access to smart devices, 92 percent of those teenagers go online daily. The abundance of smart devices has a curious effect on today’s teens and how they’re spending their on this technology.
Television and gaming have changed tremendously in the last few years. With most televisions being a smart TV, having hundreds of apps that can be downloaded on the main screen increases the use of games and streaming. Streaming movies and television shows have increased by 10 percent in the last year. Teenagers are able to stream new movies and missed television shows almost directly after being released. Gaming consoles like Wii, PlayStation, or Xbox are played almost daily by 81 percent of teens. These gaming devices allow teens to engage in virtual reality as well as communicate with other players through a headset.
Growing up in the 90’s was much different than those growing up in today’s world. Teenagers in 1995 were on the brink of learning about technology whereas teenagers today don’t know how to live without it. In 1995, 60 percent of teenagers communicated with friends on a daily basis over the phone. Today, only 39 percent of teenagers talk to their friends through voice calls. It’s becoming easier to connect with friends through social media versus speaking on the phone.
Social media is shaping communication for the today’s youth. With apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, teenagers are able to connect and communicate with their friends without having to speak or see each other. Facebook is the most used social media app, with 71 percent of teens using it daily. Instagram comes in second with 52 percent of teenagers owning an account and 33 percent having a Twitter handle. These apps allow its users to write messages, post thoughts, and share pictures with all of their friends. Luckily, smart devices have allowed an avenue for today’s teens to use and implement technology into their education.
More than 89 percent of schools in the U.S. own tablets for student use. There are more than 20,000 educational apps created for the iPad alone. Teachers can alter their lessons to accommodate each individual student based on their learning curve. Using educational apps in school allows students easy access to those apps when they go home, making homework an easier chore. Smart boards are replacing projector screens, textbooks are now available as e-books, and teens have all of their notes, books, and papers available instantly.
Digital media is on the rise, 95 percent of today’s teenagers dominate the usage of the Internet. Teenagers are the first to be influenced by any new Internet craze and technology device. The relationship between teenagers and digital media has come a long way in the past two decades and it is hard to imagine where it will go next.
Kimberly Lewis is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s Degree in education. She taught science at the Warren County Alternative School before choosing to continue her love of writing as a freelancer while at home raising her two children.