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March 25, 2015

Tech teenagers spawn ‘Generation of Things’

National teens' digital skills and aspirations to challenge Government and PLC.

By Joao Lima

A recent survey has revealed 13 to 17 year olds as a connected generation in control of their data security, privacy and digital rights and preparing for the IoT.

The study, ‘Has The Generation of Things Arrived?,’ was published in the seventh Realtime Generation report by Logicalis UK and includes a survey conducted by ResearchBods.

Every day, an average UK teen will use five different devices and spend as much as six hours engaging in digital activities.

From the 1,100 respondents, 80% said to expect 3D printing to be a common tool in 2024, with 69% believing that self-health monitoring will be part of everyday life by then.

Furthermore, 42% expect drones to deliver goods, with a further 43% pushing for holographic technology to be widely available within a decade. Moreover, 74% claimed adults underestimate their online resilience.

Teenagers have also asked for more technology in lessons (75%) and improvements to the IT curriculum (34%).

62% of respondents spoke of a distrust of social media platforms like of Facebook and Twitter, and 72% want organisations to work hard for their personal data.

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In the work environment, teens are very much on the same line as the current workforce: 79% said businesses will have to update IT and flexible working practises.

Nine in ten said they will be the ones choosing what technology to use and 86% expect remote and flexible working opportunities.

The thirst for technology led 95% to admit they will demand a mobile, while 74% think employers will still provide a traditional PC.

Further evidence shows that as many as 86% of today’s teens own a Smartphone, while 68% have a tablet. Wearables have not been adopted widely, attracting just 6% of young adults.

70% of teenagers have also showed great acceptance of remote home control, with 60% open minded about driverless cars.

As for safety, 59% were comfortable to use biometrics to unlock their bank account or car, with 82% expecting it to be widely adopted within 15 years.

The ResearchBods survey has also exposed an entrepreneurial layer within teens. 60% want to work for themselves or start a business in the future and 88% agreed entrepreneurship should be added to the national curriculum

On the same lines of a survey conducted last December by YouGov for IEEE, teens have included ICT in their top three subject choices alongside with Maths and English. IT and technology were the top career choice, up from fourth last year.

Although, one third said the current curriculum for ICT and digital skills is not good enough and three quarters urged teachers to use technology to improve lessons.

Looking at further education, 78% admitted to want to pursue this path while 7% were planning for apprenticeships.

Nevertheless, all the technology hype has the Government worried and is bringing forward new challenges to the Plc.

77% of respondents understand the ‘right to be forgotten’ rule with over 50% concerned about their data ‘living on’. 51% agree with controlling and removing links to data online.

Last year’s attacks to celebrities and big companies have led 67% becoming more aware of online vulnerabilities with 50% reporting offensive online behaviour. Nearly three quarters of respondents, however, are willing to share data with organisations in exchange for better, more tailored and personalised services.

In this data exchange, 72% said they were more willing to share data with the public sector which they trust the most. Other sectors, like service providers, brands and social media enterprises only managed to obtain trust from 60%, 56% and 48% of respondents, respectively.

Awareness of third party data sharing was expressed by 77%, with over two thirds uncomfortable with online movements feeding into targeted advertising.

64% of 13 to 17 year olds picked personal health data as the most valuable to share in regards of better future services.

Chris Gabriel, co-author of the report at Logicalis UK, comments, "The statistics show Realtimers understand the value of their digital skills and plan to use them. Two thirds say they’ll build the technology they want for work themselves. Forget how ‘Millennials’ introduced BYOD into the workplace, can enterprises harness a workforce that will create and dictate their own working environments?

"The report also questions whether service organisations can match this generation’s consumer mind-set on security, data protection and privacy. It seems both the public and private sector will need to step-up transparency, personalisation and big data strategies, and make service reward outweigh security risk if they’re to convince these consumers to part with their personal information."

"Realtimers aspire to a digital, data-centric, connected future, but they hold the cards to the data ownership and sharing that drives this.

"Whilst this generation can bring significant value to the economy, UK Government and business must nurture these digital skills and evolve services alongside them. As we see digital footprints grow smarter, and entering the IoT, organisations must act now to keep pace."

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