Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Mobile Youth

Just wanted to point everyone to my newest American Demographics article which has been posted over at Looksmart findarticles. The article is titled “Coming of Age” and examines the ways that mobile technology has impacted youth and youth culture. I moved beyond just the simple trends like text messaging and ringtones and tried to look at the bigger impacts on life and relationships. For instance, what will happen as these young people who are getting mobile phones at eight years old have their own homes? Will then get a landline or will they choose to “cut the cord?” Already, we’re seeing that 14 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have cut the cord. But what about the social aspects of a landline? It becomes a community phone, a number that the family shares and helps to advertise a relationship to the world. When these young people grow up and get married what kind of effect will seperate lines have on their relationship? What happens when they have kids and Grandma wants to call the house with no one in particular to talk to? It’s something to think about, and if you’re interested go read about. I think the article is fairly interesting and worth reading. If you do, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment and let me know what you think. I’m happy to discuss anything you think about. I’ll leave you with a few paragraphs from the article about “cord-cutting” and more:

“For people 5 years old and under, this whole wireless thing will be meaningless because they’ll just grow up with them,” Lewis says. “It will just be a phone, it won’t be a mobile phone or a cell phone.” With that said, what happens when it’s time for these young people to move into their own house or apartment and they need to make the decision of whether or not they need a land line? Overall, 6 percent of Americans currently use their cell phone as their only phone line reports the Yankee Group. That number skews heavily toward young adults, with 14 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds having already cut the cord.

“The decision to cut the cord is equally split between cost saving and lifestyle issues: 35 percent said cost while 32 percent said they don’t need one because they’re hardly ever at home,” says Barrabee. What’s more, an additional 18 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds expect to cut the cord in the next five years. One of the issues associated with this trend is how it will affect relationships among families.

Historically, the home telephone has been something that signifies a relationship; it is a number shared among a group of people. “The land line for voice purposes is seen as the communal phone. A grandparent calls the house and doesn’t care who in the family they get,” says Mark Page, vice president of management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, which along with Cambridge University released the Mobinet Index 2004, which examines mobile technology trends around the world. “No one has come up with a communal mobile phone yet.” So, young people today are able to create their own identity completely outside the control of their families.

“One of the core teen experiences is the process of finding your own identity and separating from parents and learning about your individuality. One of the things that the cell phone can do in such an amazing way is promote that spirit of independence and individuality. It’s really not monitored at all by parents,” says McKinney. “Parents got smart and moved PCs out of the bedroom and into the kitchen to keep kids off the Internet in dangerous ways and to keep them from IMing all night long. Now, kids have their cell phones and they’re doing the same things on them.”

I’ve got a lot going on at the moment, but I’ll try to be a little better with the posting. I’ve got some interesting stuff I’ve been working on that I’d like to share. Keep checking in and I’ll try to give you your fill of whatever it is I write about here.

November 14, 2004