The new mobile phone generation in Belgium

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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.