LONDON, March 31 /PRNewswire/ --
- 'A Beta Life - Youth' reveals the overall driver for young people is a desire for real world interaction with friends.
New research into the attitudes of youth towards technology has exploded some of the myths about the technology consumption and media choices of young people today. The research, A Beta Life - Youth, examined how technology affects all aspects of young people's relationships. It concludes that the offline world is still the primary influencer and driver of young people in how they conduct their lives, including interactions with friends, family, entertainment media, communication technologies, advertising and brands.
The research, conducted by OTX in association with Nokia, MTV Networks, 20th Century Fox, Fox Mobile Group, and Channel 4 shows that digital technology plays two main functions in young people's lives - as a means of improving their enjoyment of and access to traditional off line behaviours, but more significantly in the creation of commutainment - a hybrid of communication and entertainment where the act of communicating itself becomes a form of entertainment.
With up to eight digital gadgets in their bedroom, and access to four more in their household, the popular perception is that young people are immersed in gadgets and technology for their own sake. However, the research explodes this myth by showing that young people's immersion in these devices and the time spent on them is not due to an obsession with the technology per se, but largely due to the gadgets' ability to facilitate communication and to enhance young people's enjoyment of traditional pursuits. For most, the focus of their passion is not so much the device itself, but more about how it can help them connect, relax or have fun. The technology itself is invisible to the young consumer - despite the millions of widgets they download from Facebook, young people are not even comfortable using widespread technology terminology such as widgets.
Fifteen years ago, most teenagers would have had access to just one communications device - their household phone. Today, despite being involved in an astonishing 48 digital communications every day, the average young person remains most engaged by traditional behaviours - of their overall top ten favourite activities seven are still offline. Traditional activities such as hanging out with friends, listening to music, and seeing boy/girlfriends dominate the top three favourite pastimes of young people, while digital behaviours such as creating user generated content have a much lower penetration than commonly perceived (only 16% of young people have written a blog and less than a quarter (21%) have filmed and uploaded a clip to a site like YouTube). Even when engaged in digital communications, young people prefer activities with a social context, for example texting friends and sharing video content with friends both score much higher than watching video alone on their handheld device.
Today's restless young person manages to indulge in 23 cumulative hours of activity in every 24 hour day - engaging in up to five activities simultaneously. While this degree of multitasking is only made possible by digital technology, the implication is that (counter to current thinking) a single integrated device with one screen is probably insufficient to meet their complex communications needs - which could entail watching clips, talking, texting and surfing the internet simultaneously.
Other key findings include:
- Young people demonstrate a surprisingly narrow repertoire of favourite old media channels, with an average of just five favourite TV channels. - Young people are attracted to digital technology because it allows them to present an edited or idealised version of themselves, with 35 percent agreeing that they pick only photos where I look good. - There are distinct differences in attitudes to digital technology on a gender level: female early teens are much more active communicators compared to males - then this reverses in late teens. - Around one in two claim to get restless or bored, even when doing something they enjoy. - They have an average of 99 friends online, half of which they see face to face. - Texting is so ubiquitous that 34 percent even text the group of friends that they are physically with. - 33 percent are contactable at all times, even in their sleep. - 41 percent sometimes sit on the phone to friends without saying a word. - 63 percent would feel either really stressed or more anxious if they were unable to use the internet for a day. - 41 percent would feel more stressed if they couldn't use their mobile phone for just two hours.
Commented Graham Saxton, Managing Director, Media and Entertainment Insights, OTX, Many commentators have reasoned that young people's obsession with digital technology is due to a fascination with the technology and gadgets, when in fact they are only interested in technology as a means to an end. The traditional world remains the 'go-to' destination for meeting their friends and entertainment and real, offline destinations and pastimes still rate higher than the online space.
Andrew Davidson, Head of OTX's youth division, added, It is really interesting to explore the 'brand discovery' journey for young people in 2009. For example, in contrast to what most people assume is an increasingly dominant role of the internet, over two thirds of young people (70%) actually claim to first hear about their new mobile phone or MP3 player from offline sources, primarily seeing friends use it, TV ads, and in store. We see the same pattern for other electronic devices, media content and even more so for offline items such as clothing. The only exception is, as you might expect, digital media and on-line only products.
About A Beta Life
The study is designed to understand how technology has impacted on the social lives of young people globally, and explores how these lifestyle changes affect their relationship with friends, family, entertainment media, communication technologies, advertising and brands. Commissioned by OTX Europe in association with five leading brands - MTV Networks, 20th Century Fox, Fox Mobile Group, Nokia and Channel 4 (a British broadcasting network) - the research was conducted in five markets - UK, US, Germany, India and Japan - between September and December 2008 amongst 8,000 technology embracing 12 - 24 year olds.
OTX (www.otxresearch.com) is a global consumer research and consulting firm specializing in innovative, cutting edge research products and analysis for the marketing, entertainment and advertising communities. OTX's range of approaches, products and services leverage technological expertise with extensive traditional marketing and advertising research experience to uncover deeper and more profound consumer insights. This unique suite of state-of-the-art products and services reach and engage today's digitally-driven global consumer more effectively, and yield more relevant and honest data. In just eight years OTX has become the 20th largest research agency in the U.S. (24th largest globally) with offices in London, Los Angeles, New York, Cincinnati, Miami, and Chicago with strategic partners in Japan, Australia, and Mexico.