Posted by: in News on Nov 23, 2011
In the past they wanted a car and a driver’s license. Now they just want a smartphone.
Many years ago, in a far and different world where cars were the most common wish of teenagers, parents used to be concerned when children got a driver’s license. It was the first indication of adulthood, meaning freedom and a lot of new opportunities for the young, of course, but a lot of problems for parents. Driving isn’t the safest of actions. Teenagers, even those who have a license, aren’t known as the most sober drivers on the road. Yes, it’s obvious: alcohol and cars aren’t best friends. Research done by the University of Utah, for instance, shows that driving after drinking is four times more dangerous than driving sober.
Some years ago, in a far and not so different world, cars were an important teenagers’ wish. But so were mobile phones. Children wanted cars to have freedom. And they wished for mobiles to talk with friends. And that meant a lot of problems for parents. Driving isn’t the safest of actions. Teenagers, even those who have a license, are talkative and like to use their mobiles while driving. And, yes, cell phone and cars aren’t best friends. Do you need an example? The same research says that you are four times more likely to cause an accident while driving talking on a cell phone. It’s just as dangerous as driving drunk. And, worst of all, teenagers, even those who use mobiles, aren’t the most sober drivers on the road.
Just a few years ago, in a near and very similar world, cars were important for teenagers and so were mobile phones. They wished for cars because that meant freedom. And they wished for mobiles to talk and also to send text messages. And that meant a lot of problems for parents. Driving isn’t the safest of actions, and a driver is eight times more likely to cause an accident just by texting while driving. Yes, texting is twice as dangerous for a driver as alcohol.
And here we are, in a world just a little bit different. Today parents shouldn’t be concerned with cars, alcohol, accidents, cell phones or even texting anymore. Young people still drink and love texting, but they don’t have cell phones. Now they have smartphones. And this changes everything, at least according to research published by The New York Times. The complete research will be released by Gartner – a technology research company - in the next few months. The initial numbers show that 46 % of people from 18 to 24 prefer access to the Internet to drive a car.
That is to say that, if given the choice, a young adult would be almost as likely to want access to the internet as access to their parents’ cars. The New York Times says that in 1978, 50 % of the teenagers in the US had a driver’s license, and 30 years after that only 30% did. Even those who have a car and a license are driving less than their parents did, decades ago. “The iPhone is the Ford Mustang of today,” said a manager of an auto company to the NY Times. The “mobile” technology was fundamental in the past, with cars, and is fundamental today. But teenagers today dream of smartphones. Better for parents – perhaps they now can sleep peacefully knowing that their kids are just down the hall using their smartphone in bed.