Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pew Internet reports: use of smartphones; hyperconnected millennials; privacy management

I have a backlog of reports that I meant to read before I blogged, but I think I had better just blog them, starting with some Pew Internet and American Life project reports. On March 19th they published a report about Teens, Smartphones & Texting. They did "telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 799 teens ages 12 to 17 years old and their parents living in the continental United States". "Teens are fervent communicators ... they communicate frequently with a variety of important people in their lives: friends and peers, parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, and a myriad of other adults and institutions. This report examines the tools teens use to communicate, with a particular focus on mobile devices, and then places the use of those tools in the broader context of how teens choose to communicate with people in their lives."
Just dipping in (since we have been discussing use of email in my department), texting dominates: "8% of teens say they email daily with friends, down from 14% in 2006. More than half (54%) of all teens now say they never use email to talk with friends, and one third of teens say they never use instant messaging or send messages via social media sites."

Another fairly recent report, released on March 1st, revealed that Nearly half of American adults are smartphone owners. "46% of American adults now have a smartphone of some kind, and for the first time smartphone owners outnumber users of more basic phones." "The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older."

Then on 29 February, they revealed that Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives "A Pew Internet/Elon University survey reveals experts’ hopes and fears about the hyperconnected generation, from their ability to juggle many tasks to their thirst for instant gratification and lack of patience." "Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts."
I must say my immediate reaction is to trouble the expert opinions, as I don't think those things all necessarily follow on from one another. Still it does say that "Since the data are based on a non-random sample, a margin of error cannot be computed, and the results [i.e. the opinions in the report] are not projectable to any population other than the experts in this sample."

Finally, on 24th February a report was released on Privacy management on social media sites "Social network users are becoming more active in pruning and managing their accounts. Women and younger users tend to unfriend more than others" "The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 26 to May 22, 2011, among a sample of 2,277 adults, age 18 and older."
Photo by Sheila Webber: more forsythia, March 2012

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