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Youngsters and screens: +36% more contacts with the Internet from 2009 to 2013 in France

By The Numbers
December 31, 2014

With the ubiquity of the Internet and smartphones and screens all around us in this new digital era, young people have taken up new media habits that mirror new cultural practices. What are the new media out there for young people and how do they use it? On the 9th of December 2014, the CSA organized a colloquium on the theme of youngsters and screens. Here is a breakdown of what was said.

Young people, as a whole, have always been technophiles. However, with the digital transformation, their ability to use and share information using new technologies has amplified. According to the CSA study “Which screens do the 13-24 year old age group use and for what use?” (December 2014), the digital generation encourages the creation of 2.0 households, decked with various digital devices and several screens. Indeed, between 95%-96% of 13-24 year olds live in a household having a computer and 75% of them possess smartphones (which represents 23 more points than the general average). From 2009 to 2013 the influence of mobile devices with regard to social media amongst young people multiplied by two on average and during that same period they had +36% more contact points with the Internet.

Furthermore, the importance of music, which remains a stronghold of young people’s media consumption ever since the 60s when it became a strong identity symbol, increases during this new digital age with musical content available just one click away. In 1998, 44% of the 15-29 age group listened to music everyday: in 2008, there were twice more.

The unfurling of the digital wave has also brought about a fragmentation of audiences by making linearity redundant. With the Internet, young people are no longer dependent on set program schedules; instead, they can choose when and where they watch or listen to the show of their choice. Indeed, young people are the first consumers of catch-up TV: the 15-24 age group represents 25% of the catch-up TV viewers and in 2013 75% of them watched a TV program live or on catch-up TV on a screen other than the TV (against 50% for the whole population). They enjoying watching TV like older age groups but their viewing habits are more geared towards other screens and they usually interact via their smartphones, which has become the first cultural device for young people. The same trend can be observed with regard to radios where multimedia supports attract +30% audiences among the 13-24 year olds.

The easy access to content on the Internet has also triggered a cultural cosmopolitism phenomenon with the availability of foreign cultural content that has increased substantially. In 1998, 18% of young people watched TV in a different language (7 more points than older age groups) against 26% in 2008 (so twice the rates of older age groups).

However, even if media in our digital era allows for the vast broadcasting and sharing of knowledge, and even if parents usually think of these technological tools as education, it is necessary to educate young people about social media and media in general. Young people are often the biggest users of new technologies, and they carve new uses for and from it. This certainly widens the generation gap, which is why the CSA must be particularly cautious about properly guiding young people. In order to help young people use new media conscientiously and in a responsible fashion (especially in the way they search for information, like search engines, usurpation of personal information, recommendation algorithms). More than just regulation, a new education infrastructure should be put into place.

The aim is to reduce the digital divide and the generation gap – here lies the main challenges facing new cultural policies.

Find out more :

CSA study (only in French) « Quels écrans utilisent les 13-24 ans et pour quels usages ? » (December 2014)

The investigation (only in French) « Pratiques culturelles des Français 1988, 1997 et 2008 », conducted by INJEP and the DEPS of the Ministry of Culture and Communication

Our article  Human rights in today’s digital age: what is at stake for companies? ( December 9, 2014)

The editorial by Pascale Thumerelle, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Vivendi "Données personnelles et responsabilité sociétale des entreprises" (Huffington Post, December 4, 2014)

A testimony (only in French) by Sylvie Octobre, Head of Research at the Ministry of Culture and Communication and author of the book « Deux pouces et des neurones » (Le Monde, September 24, 2014)

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