There seems to be a correlation between the willingness of an individual to deal with things digital and one’s age (or better: one’s stage of development). An annual study commissioned by the two German public broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, showed that in 2014 eight out of ten Germans were more or less regular users of online media such as Internet or Web TV. In 2000, incidentally, this number stood at 26.6 percent. Men are more prone to surf the Web (83.7 percent) than women (74.6 percent). But these figures don’t say much about the relative online presence of old and young. Taking a closer look, however, reveals that among the age group 14 to 19, there is virtually no one who is still offline; at least statistically 100 percent of all kids have been online users since 2010. Among those aged 20 to 29, the percentage is 99.4, among 30 to 39 year-olds it is 97.4 percent. The number falls slightly to 93.9 percent for those between 40 and 49 and more steeply, namely to 82.1, among the 50 to 50 age bracket. What really pulls the statistic down is final age group who are over 60, where only a dismal 45 percent admit that digital media and the Internet are important for their lives.
Of course, we grey panthers don’t have long to live, and that will set the statistics right. Those of us born after, say, 1955 will all get to see a world in which virtually everybody goes online as a matter of course. Give it ten more years or so. By then, use of digital media will be as commonplace as using the telephone, and probably much more widespread than watching TV. In most developed countries television consumption among young people is on the decline. Yes, they still spend lots of time in front of the screen, only it’s a different screen: a computer monitor, namely. Recent studies reveal that in the United States, about five percent of all households no longer possess a TV set; not because they can’t afford one, but because they don’t need one.
And why should a sophisticated and autonomous youngster waste time watching prefabricated, commerce-driven and, let’s be honest, for the most part deadly boring TV trash when behind the nearest computer screen a teeming, fascinating world awaits that has the added advantage of being completely tailored to my own tastes and preferences? (mehr …)