Teenagers increasingly comfortable with the digital world, survey says

A nationwide survey of 1,000 13-17 year olds has revealed a growing number of digitally literate teens able to code, hack, and who are happy to swap their personal information in return for cash.

The findings have been published in the eighth annual Realtime Generation report commissioned by Logicalis UK, entitled The Age of Digital Enlightenment’.

The survey found that a day-in-the-life of a UK teen is mobile – 93 per cent own a smartphone – and includes nine hours online, consuming, publishing or creating content. For this generation, there is an app for everything and, if one doesn’t exist, a growing number – 18 per cent currently – are acquiring the coding skills to build their own.


Cash for info

Interestingly, 42 per cent would rather accept £15 for giving away their personal information than earn cash from a job. As consumers, teens clearly understand the commercial value of their personal data, and are willing to share information provided it results in a better service or deal.

A total of seven per cent of those surveyed have tried hacking – proportionately this equates to at least one hacker per classroom. And whilst most say they are hacking out of curiosity, it’s important these skills are channelled to the benefit of society.

Gerry Carroll, author of the report and marketing director at Logicalis UK, commented: “While some of the statistics around hacking and online behaviour may be alarming, it’s essential we recognise the economic potential of these instinctively digital teenagers.

“Whether creating new careers in an increasingly digitalised workplace, or nurturing the skills so sorely needed in the IT industry, today’s teenagers are better placed than ever before to achieve the efficiency and productivity promise of IT. Public and private sector organisations should nurture and channel these talents, creating the right opportunities for these digitally enlightened teens to deliver their true dividend.”


Positive about schooling

At school, 81 per cent think teachers do a great job integrating digital learning into class, and 60 per cent believe the current ICT curriculum offers an adequate foundation for their higher education and career aspirations. A respectable 41 per cent are taking a qualification in a computer science subject and just over half would make ICT and computer sciences mandatory.

Carroll continued: “With numerous reports bemoaning the loss of jobs to increasingly computerised functions, this generation is busy developing the skills it needs for careers that don’t yet exist. The next decade will see an influx of employees whose capabilities will be light years ahead from our existing expectations of ‘ICT skills’. Able to create, build or knowledgeably commission the IT they want, today’s teenagers are a future workforce with the potential to enable and transform the UK’s digital economy.”

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