The younger generations are constantly online, socializing mainly via social media, as they share every little details of their lives with friends and strangers online. And they don't read magazines and rarely watch TV. That's what we boomers and Gen Xers tend to think, if you put any faith in the stereotypes we constantly see when we think of Millennials (Generation Y) and the younger Generation Z.
(An aside here: This is the first I've seen of Gen Z, which is used to categorize the teen children of the Generation Xers, who are themselves the kids of the boomers. Got that? And I wonder, what will the next group be called after Gen Z? Do we start back at the beginning with Gen A?)
But back to those stereotypes...
Two separate studies, reported in MediaLife and Media Daily News this week, show those stereotypes may not be so accurate after all.
More than half of Millennials say they prefer to socialize offline, and 63 percent say they communicate face to face more than they do online. They're active on Facebook, but teens are not as interested. It's something teens have grown up with, so there's no "wow" factor for them, and it becomes even less cool as they see their parents and grandparents on FB.
Teens seem to be a bit more careful about posting personal information online, with just under half saying they share nothing or close to nothing personal online. They're also realizing how long personal information can stay online, and the get the importance of maintaining privacy. Looks like they've learned from the older generations' mistakes online.
Teens (Gen Z) are online a lot, up 37 percent last spring as compared to a year earlier. Online time for other groups, including Gen X, remained fairly steady. The study says much of the increase has come from the growth of tablets and smartphones, whose prices have been coming down and thus more accessible to younger people. Teen ownership of smartphones, for example, grew last year from 35 percent up to 55 percent.
The study had another finding that belies stereotypes. The younger generations, especially teens, like magazines. More than two-thirds of teens say they prefer printed magazines over digital e-zines. That's encouraging news for publishers.
One would think traditional TV is dying, if we believe all the articles we see. But more than half of the young people surveyed say they prefer watching TV or video on a traditional TV set, rather than on a laptop or the so-called second screens of mobile devices.
So much for stereotypes.