Seven in ten teenagers would be happier if they could connect with parents or grandparents more often through social networks
A survey by technology provider, Logicalis Group, asked almost 1,000 13 to 17 year olds – the ‘Realtime Generation’ – their opinions on the internet, social networking and the state of IT education.
Over 70 per cent of respondents, that expressed an opinion, said they used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents and grandparents.
However, 65 per cent said they felt better connected to their friends than to their family through social networks.
Almost eight in ten teenagers (77 per cent) also said that they have helped a parent or grandparent to access a website.
Realtimers are actively participating in closing the digital divide.
Not only do youngsters want to connect digitally to their families, they are not waiting around for someone else to take the lead.
The findings also suggested that teenagers also want better IT education; 60 per cent thought that the government should improve the quality of technology in schools, with just 23 per cent stating that they thought provisions were good enough.
Just 18 per cent of teenagers think the government really understands why internet and technology is important to their generation.
Some 63 per cent thought the government was out of touch on the subject – with over half of those teenagers accusing them of trying to look ‘cool’ when it comes to technology.
This indicates that the government’s biggest concern should be that of digital credibility.
The government’s recently-introduced term ‘knowledge worker’ – a person whose main capital is knowledge – is a concept that few 13-17 year-olds had heard of or understood.
Tom Kelly, MD of Logicalis UK, said: “The Real-timers are the most tech-savvy demographic in the UK, so it’s telling that they believe the current state of IT education is poor.
“However we are starting to see synergy the students’ need to improve the IT curriculum, and the government’s actions.
“Our findings suggest that it is no longer ‘uncool’ to have elder family members as ‘friends’ on Facebook.
“In fact, it is now one of their preferred methods of connecting.
“For these teens, breaking down the barriers between the generations means building digital connections to those closest to them. We are seeing Real-timers actively participating in closing the digital divide.
“Not only do they want to connect digitally to their families, they are not waiting around for someone else to take the lead.”
Throughout the survey, the Real-time Generation sees technology as increasingly critical not only for building positive family relations, but also to their future prosperity and working lives.
This is a recognition in-step with government ambitions for the digital economy and society.
Yet, the two sides are not fully engaged.
Mr Kelly concludes: “The survey shows there is still a divide between the digital ambitions of the government and their investment in our children.
“If this survey reflects the digital life for a teenager, there is more to do if the UK’s ambition of becoming a powerful knowledge economy is to become a reality.
“Educating and engaging effectively with this Real-time Generation could make a significant difference to the economic future of the UK.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 15) Echo.