Little Cyborgs Leave Their Elders in the Dust When it Comes to Technology

Filed under: In The News, Gadgets

cyborgs picture

Kids use their phones for much more than just talking. Credit: Getty

"I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."

-- HAL 9000 (from "2001: A Space Odyssey")


Our world is increasingly ruled by computers. And a better world it is because of it.

Yessiree, we love our wise and benevolent computer overlords who would never, ever think of harming us. And we would never say anything unkind about them. They might hear us.

They're eeeverywhere.

Blame the kids. Young people are the foot soldiers in the rise of the machine, according to a report just released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Their parents -- like all obedient minions younger than 75 -- carry cell phones. But it's the kids who are really taking the robot revolution to the streets with all their fancy-schmancy iPods, iPads and other mobile devices.

Baby boomers still have desktop computers and use their phones primarily for talking to people, the survey finds. Their grandkids (known as "Millennials") use their phones for everything from updating their Facebook pages to killing elves.

(Relax. They only kill elves in online video games. For now.)

Other survey results:

  • 85 percent of adults own cell phones
  • 90 percent of adults (including 62 percent of seniors 75 and older) live in households with at least one working cell phone
  • 70 percent of Millennials own a laptop
  • 50 percent of adults own an iPod or other mp3 player, but these devices are still most popular with Millennials (74 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 own an mp3 player, compared with only 56 percent of Gen Xers (ages 35 to 46)
  • 63 percent of adults ages 18 to 46 own game consoles
  • 5 percent of adults own an e-book reader (4 percent own an iPad or other tablet computer)
  • 9 percent of adults adults do not own any of these doohickeys (43 percent of these people are 75 or older -- and probably refer or gadgets and gizmos as "doohickeys")
The survey is based on tracking Americans' use of the Internet and data from phone interviews with 3,000 adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between Aug. 9 and Sept. 13, 2010.

The moral of the story? Beware of young people. They not only have more mobile devices, but, God help us, they know how to use them.

"In terms of generations, Millennials are by far the most likely group not only to own most of the devices we asked about, but also to take advantage of a wider range of functions," the study's author, Kathryn Zickuhr, tells PC magazine.

"For instance, while cell phones have become ubiquitous in American households, most cell phone owners only use two of the main non-voice functions on their phones: taking pictures and text messaging. Among Millennials, meanwhile, a majority use their phones also for going online, sending e-mail, playing games, listening to music and recording videos."

Blessed are the geek, for they shall inherit the earth.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.