The new mobile phone generation in Belgium


Fresh research undertaken by the University of Ghent  has revealed that the vast majority of youngsters in Flanders aged between 12 and 18 own a smartphone. But young people mostly use the smartphone to send texts not to make telephone calls – the average youngster sends 71 texts a day.

The smartphone figures are contained in a new survey about the lifestyle of today’s youth. In all nearly 1,500 youngsters were questioned. The average young teenager watches TV for two hours a day, will play computer games for an hour on average, surf the internet for a further two hours, send 71 texts and still find the time to make two phone calls.

Today’s youngsters switch with ease from one medium to another.  Commented researcher Birgit Segal: “For youngsters today it is quite normal to send texts, listen to music, be on a social media website and watch TV all at the same time.”

98% of youngsters have a mobile or cell phone. They pay 7.66 euros on average in subscription charges. This figure has halved over the past two years.

23% of youngsters pay their own phone bill, while half of all parents pick up the entire tab.

Only 33% of youngsters with a smartphone actually use it to go online. Many are deterred because of the cost. As a result only 20% of youngsters are on Twitter.

It is especially for youngsters from deprived backgrounds that a smartphone is a status symbol. They spend more on the phone and more often than not pay their bill themselves.

In 2010, 46% of youngsters had a TV in their room. Today the figure has fallen to 32%. TV is losing ground to the computer with 61% of youngsters having a computer in their bedroom. Two years ago the figure was only 43%.

The survey showed that youngsters are aware of the dangers of the internet, but often get muddled when they start looking at security settings.