Adults and teens rarely see eye-to-eye, no surprise there. Well, guess what – there’s a big divide when it comes to the Internet, too. According to a new poll by AOL and the Associated Press, when it comes to cyberspace communication, teens prefer instant messaging – or “IM-ing”. More than half of all those polled say they use IMs. And 20% of them send more than 100 IMs a day. On the flip side, adults prefer email. The poll shows that only 1 in 4 adults use IMs on a regular basis. And those who do send instant messages, send less than 25 a day.
So, why the difference? Steve Jones, a communications professor at the University of Chicago, said that it’s a reflection of today’s society. Adults made the jump from landline phones to cell phones and email, and like the ability to carry on long, chatty email “conversations” at any hour of the day or night. While kids like everything fast. And they love to multi-task. In fact, they almost seem hard-wired to simultaneously carry on 4 or 5 IM conversations at once, while listening to music and doing their homework.
And when it comes to romance, a high percentage of teens said they use IMs to ask people out on dates, and to break up with their significant other. Kind of an instant “Dear John” letter. But here’s a comforting fact: adults and teens all said that when it comes to serious or confidential news, they both prefer to pick up the phone and have an actual voice-to-voice chat. And I – for one – am glad to hear that the art of conversation isn’t dead. yet.