The average U.K. teen owns 6 digital devices, wants to be Bill Gates

But most still can't code.


Joe Kloc


Published Dec 24, 2013   Updated May 31, 2021, 11:04 pm CDT

recent survey interviewed over 1,000 U.K. teens to find out how future generations will engage with technology in their personal, professional, and political lives to shape the economy. According to the study, the Realtimers generation is “connected, cloud-ready, and commercially aware,” and “the digital disposition is significantly impacting its expectations, concerns and aspirations.”

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The 16-page report is worth checking out in full, but here’s a roundup of some of the key findings:

Shift towards mobility. Of the one thousand “realtimers” the researchers questioned, 99 percent had a broadband connection and 84 percent had a smart phone. Combined, each had an average of six digital devices. Twice as many Realtimers use a laptop than a desktop for their homework, reflecting a clear trend toward mobility driven Internet access. 

Huge amounts of storage capacity available. Of the 81 percent of teens who thought they had a good understanding of how much storage capacity was available to them, 

  • 26 percent estimated they had 0 – 64 GB available;

  • 19 percent estimated 64 – 256 GB;

  • 10 percent estimated 256 – 512 GB.

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Going online for news. For the most part, the study’s findings in this category are unsurprising. Most teens turn to websites for news, social media is as popular a source as television, and print journalism languishes near the bottom of the list. Interestingly, zero percent of teens reported turning to RSS feeds first for news. Almost certainly, this indicates a decline in popularity of RSS readers, which perhaps bolsters Google’s decision to end its beloved Reader. Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • 34 percent of teens turn first to online news sites;

  • 25 percent turn to TV;

  • 25 percent turn to social media;

  • 6 percent turn to YouTube;

  • 6 percent turn to printed;

  • 3 percent turn to other sources;

  • 1 percent turn to blogs;

  • and 0 turn to RSS feeds.

Interest in coding is low. The study found that while 85 percent of teens believe coding is a lucrative career opportunity, relatively few have ever attempted it, only 11 percent of boys and 4 percent of girls.

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So what can we expect from Realtimers in the future? The only two industries that more than 15 percent of surveyed teens said were lucrative and satisfying were technology and science. They view broadband access as the second most important government initiative (and affordable housing as the first). But perhaps most tellingly, out of a list of literary, pop-culture, sports, and business icons, the Realtimers surveyed selected Bill Gates as their number one role model.

Check out the full study by Logicalis here. 

Photo by Simon Q/Flickr


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*First Published: Dec 24, 2013, 2:00 pm CST