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12/6/2005
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Study: Tech Is 'Essential' To Kids' Lives

People between the ages of 12 and 21 are the first generation to feel that technology is an integral part of their lives and not just a 'nice to have,' according to a new Forrester report.

About half of all 12- to 14-year-olds own mobile phones, one indication that today's youngsters are the first "technology everywhere" generation, according to a survey released Tuesday by Forrester Research.

The survey covered more than 5,000 youths in the U.S. and Canada between the ages of 12 and 21 who are regular Internet users. The results show that mobile technology is considered essential to young people.

"Marketing executives have been staring in wonder at their own tech-savvy children and asking, 'Are all teenagers as wired as my own kids?'" Chris Charron, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, said in a statement. "The answer is 'yes.' We are seeing a generation of young people for whom technology is not just a nice-to-have, it's a critical part of their lives."

The study concluded that young people are "communications junkies." As evidence, it noted that 83 percent of respondents use instant messaging compared to 32 percent of adults. The respondents spend an average of 11 hours a week online and 20 percent spend more than 20 hours online. About 88 percent of young males and 63 percent of young females own game consoles, the study found.

The study also found that young people have don't discriminate between advertising and editorial content as much as previous generations.

"Young consumers have no preconceived notions of what advertising should be," said Charron. "They have no problem with the lines between advertising and editorial being blurry. Because they have grown up to be more self-reliant in a digital environment, they have confidence in their ability to distinguish between the two."

The study said that companies should consider these characteristics when developing new products.

"These consumers are a portrait of the future," said Charron. "Companies should look to this younger generation for inspiration in the design of new products and services."

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