Introduction to teenagers and digital media

Today we are surrounded by digital media. It’s now so quick and easy to get online that we find ourselves connected when we’re at home, out with friends, walking the dog, gorcery shopping and even when we’re on the toilet! We can pretty much find out everything we need to know within a few clicks of a button. So first of all it’s important to establish what exactly is digital media? Digital media are any media that are encoded in a machine-readable format. It is in simple terms the use of communication through technology. Digital media is something that can be created, stored, shared, viewed, distributed, modified and saved on computers (Smith 2013).

Accessing digital media is becoming easier and more convenient than ever as technology continues to advance. You no longer have to own a large static box like computer or sit listening to a dial up tone to get online. In fact to some digital media users this system will seem almost ancient and others might not have even experienced it with the age of users dropping. Nowadays people are able to access digital media within seconds via laptops, tablets, smartphones, games consoles (x-box and playstation) and the list is growing bigger with the introduction of smart watches and smart TV’s.

 Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 23.46.05

Image shows percentage of people owning digital media devices (Chaffey 2015).

The first smartphone was created in 1992 by IBM but it was not until 10 years later in 2002 that the smartphone really took off when the first basic Blackberry was introduced. A few years later Apple then graced the market in 2007 with the iPhone and its many app’s and then a year later in 2008 other developers started to get their teeth into the market (Ozgur 2011). Today with the creation of the smart phone it means that digital media users can log on almost anywhere at any time with the use of 3G/4G and wi-fi hotspots. We look at our phones an average of 150-200 times a day (InRealLife 2012). A phone is no longer used to simply call or text anymore, the invention of apps has allowed phones to become a tool to everyday life with the ability to monitor health, give directions, forecast the weather as well as the basics of telling us the time and date.

Nowadays 56% of 10-16 year olds use a smartphone daily and the average age a child gets a smartphone is dropping (Penderson 2015). In fact 40% of teenagers spend more time with their friend online than in real life (InRealLife 2012).

‘I’d rather give up my kidney than my phone’ – Phillipa Grogan, age 16.

(Henley 2010).

 This quote helps to show the extent to which teenagers value their phone and its contents and their dependancy upon them in everyday life.

 So why is this happening? Is it because digital media has become more accessible and there is a greater variation in devices available. Is it causing teens to become more socially inept and are they becoming reliant upon the internet to build form relationships? It it due to the pressure of society and our peers forcing us to enter into this digital world to be able to keep up with whats going on in our everyday lives. In this blog I’m going to gain an insight in to how todays teenagers are using digital media and the platforms they are using to do so. Ill explore what sort of a role it takes in their lives and how it affects them both positively and negatively.


CHAFFEY, D., 2015. Digital marketing statistics 2015: The top 10 free sources for Global, European, UK, US, Asia and Latin America digital marketing statistics. [online]. Smart Insights (marketing Intelligence) Ltd. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2015].

HENLEY, J., 2010. Teenagers and technology: ‘I’d rather give up my kidney than my phone’[online]. The Guardian. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2015].

OZGUR., 2011. The Smartphone revolution: The Growth of Smartphones & Exchange ActiveSync [online]. 12 May 2011. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2015].

PENDERSON, S., 2015. How, when and where are we using digital media,  BS1288. [Lecture notes]. How, when and where are we using digital media. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, Aberdeen Business School, room 225, 13 February.

SMITH, R., 2013. What is digital media? [online]. Vancouver: 2007-2014 Centre for digital media. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2015].

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