Teens cope with a world always changing

October 7, 2009 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

By Tim Barker

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

10/05/2009
While technology plays some role in virtually every person’s life in this country, today’s teenagers face a world far different from that of previous generations.

They live in a time when the only true constant is change. That forces them to learn to adapt quickly to new devices and forms of communication, while also introducing new stresses into their lives. How they deal with it is the subject of a recent study by Gary Rudman, a California-based market researcher who specializes in kids and teens.

His company, GTR Consulting, recently completed its gTrend Teen Report, based on a survey of more than 800 teens, ages 13 to 18.

Rudman said the survey offers insights into the way teens view the technology that plays such a key role in their lives, particularly as they relate to things like music, relaxation and communication.

The increased portability of music has allowed teens to essentially create a soundtrack for their lives, with 60 percent of teens saying the spend at least two hours a day listening to music.

“Music has changed in terms of what it means to these guys. It’s not just background noise,” Rudman said.

Often, teens say they use music to sort of filter out the rest of the world, helping them to focus on tasks at hand.

But music players also represent one type of technology that teens turn to when they want to relax. Where older Americans might prefer to get away from technology, teens seek it out — spending time with video games, Web surfing and cell phones, Rudman said.

But perhaps one of the more interesting ways in which technology impacts the lives of teens is the way they interact with communication devices. Rudman’s study found that teens are more likely to communicate with friends through text messaging, social networking sites and instant messaging. Those three avenues represent at least 60 percent of the communication done by teens in the survey.

Rudman said the survey participants said they felt more comfortable, and much less inhibited, communicating through writing, rather than face-to-face or on the phone.

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Entry filed under: Press.

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