Growing up online

I will never fully understand how young people today, who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones being completely normal, must view the world. There are several demographic certainties of the future (eg, the percentage of a population who will be over 65 in 2070 is easy to be sure of because they’ve all been born) and one of these is that everyone currently in their teens and younger have barely known a world without the net, and one day they’ll be in charge.

So it’s good to read statistics such as these about the 438 first year students at Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA, which make one realise the differences between college life now and when I (and probably you) were there. Some highlights:

  • 89% of applicants applied online.
  • By the end of August 2008 (before they’d even arrived at college, no?) the year’s Facebook group had 432 members.
  • By the end of the first day of term 370 students had used computers, iPhones, game consoles, etc on the campus network.
  • 14 students brought desktop computers to campus. 93 brought iPhones or iPod Touches.
  • 5 students (1.1%) have landlines.

It’s always sobering to think that what seems like quite cutting edge behaviour among us (relative) oldies is the complete norm for those who are younger. (Via Kottke.)

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