From time to time I talk about app gaming here in my blog. Not that I try to bring you everything that is hot news about that platform, but as an avid iPad and iPhone user I do pick up on some things and trends that interest me. Last week I saw a news fact, stating that although almost every youth in the Netherlands has a smartphone (96%), this phone is used less and less for what it was originally developed for. About 25% of the Dutch young people don’t use it to make calls! It seems the phone is primarily used to go on social media sites, and that isn’t just limited to the Netherlands. A PEW Research Center report published in April states that 92% of American teenagers go online daily, while 24% are online constantly. More than half of them go online several times a day and only a small minority just check in once a day or less. Of course, the availability of smartphones has given the use of the social sites, and of the message services, a huge boost.
Being mother to a teenager myself I can confirm this: my daughter checks the social site more than one a day, and doesn’t like to make phonecalls. She will always try to contact the person she needs by using text, iMessage, messenger or Whatsapp, but never actually calls them. That got me wondering: am I so different? I still remember getting the first phone call on a cell phone in 1999 and the huge embarrassment I felt talking out loud in the orange rather large device. I was expecting my daughter, and we had gotten the cell phone plus some credit to make calls at a reduced price. At the moment it felt like a good choice, because I would be able to call my husband wherever I was should the baby decide to arrive prematurely. We certainly weren’t early adapters, but still, it felt mightily awkward when he called me for the first time while I was standing among the tulips at the Keukenhof (on a side note, should you ever visit the Netherlands in Spring, make sure to visit that fascinating spring garden with nothing but fields of bulbs and colorful displays of tulips, daffodils and such).
What a huge leap we have taken since then: 80% of Dutch people over 13 years old has a smartphone, while even 65% has a tablet (iPad or android device). And like those teenagers they mentioned, I don’t make phone calls when I can easily ask my question on one of the other platforms. Maybe because I was never one to be on the phone for hours on end with friends anyway, but I think the communications ways we have available these days are just so convenient. What about you? Are you still on the phone a lot, or have the new ways of communicating taken over for you too?