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A great portrait of young Canadians and digital media

In 2013, the Habilomedias organization conducted a large survey of 5,436 Canadian students in grades 4 to 11 to measure the importance of networked technologies in their lives.

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In 2013, the organization Habilomedias conducted a large survey of 5,436 Canadian students in grade 4e at the 11e year, to measure the importance of networked technologies in their lives.

The first finding of the report Online life is that Internet access is now universal. In fact, 99 % of pupils have the possibility of connecting outside the school.

Second, there is a proliferation of mobile devices, such as tablets, smartphones and MP3 players, which provide young people with constant and often unsupervised access.

Finally, we have observed the spectacular growth of social networking. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Minecraft are the favorite sites for young people. Almost a third of the students of the 4e at the 6e years have a Facebook account, despite the terms of use which prohibit children under 13 from using this site.

At the heart of life

The social life of young people today is so tied to technology that 39 % of those who have their own cell phone sleep with it at night in case they receive calls or messages! However, more than a third worry about spending too much time online.

More present in the lives of students than ever before, digital media are an important source for entertainment and communication between friends and family. Indeed, 59 % of young people play online games, 51 % download or stream music, TV shows or movies, and 52 % read or post on other people's social networking sites.

Digital media are also an important source, if not their main source of information - 49 % of students use the Internet to follow news and current affairs. This proportion increases over the years, from 28 % in 4e year at 65 % in 11e year. On the entertainment side, Youtube remains the most popular site among all students.

Security question

While claiming to feel safe in the virtual world, one in six students has already disconnected in order to avoid someone who was harassing them. Girls are significantly less likely than boys to view the Internet as a safe place. There was also a strong link between the presence of parental rules on Internet use and the adoption of preventive behaviors.

A cultural divide

One thing remains certain, there is a gap, if not a gap, between the way of communicating, of being informed and of being entertained of the young generation compared to the one which preceded them. Exit the traditional media - telephone, television, radio, newspapers, movies and music on CD or DVD: digital media are ubiquitous and on the way to eliminating all competition.

We are in the presence of a language and a culture whose parameters will have to be quickly mastered if we wish to maintain contact with our youth.

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About the Author

Pierre Turbis
Pierre Turbis
Pierre is a journalist and columnist. He contributes to numerous publications.

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