Teens and the Net

Every once in a while, a good reality check is in order. In my case, every so often I need to break the web/tech bubble I live in and step back into the “real world” of the non-geek. This happened today while reading notes from the What Teens Want panel at the Web 2.0 Conference last week. The discussion not only made me feel very old, but was thought provoking from both business and educational angles. Maybe EduTech should reevaluate how we teach North Dakota teachers about technology in light of how kids are actually using it? Just a thought…

Some of the biggest surprises for me:

  • Almost every teen is on MySpace
  • They don’t pay for music, but do use the iTunes Music Store as a catalog before downloading it from peer-to-peer networks
  • Some spend unreal amounts of money on cell phone ringtones (since they can’t easily be found for free on the net)
  • Practically none of them use Yahoo for any of their online activities
  • They haven’t heard of and don’t use many of the latest so-called Web 2.0 tools such as Skype, Flickr, blogs, tagging, etc.

I spend so much of each day immersed in the latest web technologies and reading about the newest tech developments that I quickly forget that some of this stuff isn’t even on other people’s radars. As for teens, some of their behavior may just be “do whatever the adults aren’t doing” and and some due to having more time than money. While I downloaded my fair share of music in college, now I just don’t have the time to search BitTorrent for new songs and artists. I seem to have way more money than time lately, and that’s not saying much. So, while it’s possible that these trends are here to stay, they may just last through high school and college when they too will find their priorities changing.

What are your insights?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. What can kids teach us?

    Last week in San Francisco, there was a conference called Web 2.0 – it was big news. One of the sessions involved a panel of teenagers. Although these kids didn’t necessarily identify with the technologies that are currently hitting the headlines, seve…

  2. I bet you’re right about shifting priorities. I know mine shifted as I grew from consuming 95% of the bandwidth in our dorm (I was an early, early adopter) to having a job. My balance went from lots of free time and no money, to waay less free time and more money. Basically, when faced with the choice of $15 or 20+ minutes finding and downloading an album, I’d spend the $15.

    Of course, if Napster was still around, that could easily be a different story.

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