Youth Are Our Present – Executive Summary
This document provides commentary and the responses to a survey regarding communication trends among today’s American rural youth. The purpose of this survey was to understand how rural youth from OPASTCO-member (or equivalent) communities consume media and technology. Sharing of some of the results from this survey took place during the panel, Youth Are Our Present, at OPASTCO’s 44th Annual Summer Convention.
The results of the survey reinforce the idea that younger people are among the first to embrace new approaches to communications and entertainment, such as text messaging, social communities and mobility. Still, like people of all ages, things such as ease of use and value resonate with the younger generation. Some other key points from this survey include:
- Two-thirds (2/3) of the rural youth consider themselves or their siblings to be the most tech-savvy in their household.
- TV still consumes the most amount of a youth’s time, although they spend a significant portion of their waking hours using computer and texting via mobile phones. The landline telephone consumes the least amount of a youth’s time.
- Youth tend to be most willing to pay for cell phone service, in part, because they perceive it to offer the best value and utility for the money.
- Social communities are just behind cell phones as ways to communicate with their peers. The popularity of these two forms of communication will probably lead to increased intertwining of social communities with mobile services.
- Despite all of the messaging and marketing that the youth are bombarded with, friends and family remain the biggest influences on the adoption of new technology and associated services.
- Ease of use is the most important factor in the selection of a cell phone, while the basic feature of being able to make a callis the most important.
- The sources of the video the youth watch are definitely different from previous generations, as broadcast television ranked fourth behind, cable television, video stores and the Internet.
- Youth are producers of video content, as 46% have uploaded or plan to upload videos to the Internet, which has long-term implications for the upstream bandwidth requirements.