Know the Numbers: Future Workforce Highly Connected to Social Media and Technology

From text messaging to video feeds, young people are being drawn to smart technology in ways that are changing the way they think, innovate and process critical data. Their ability to comprehend rules in the workplace, demonstrate soft skill competency, and handle work force demands, are all impacted by the rules of smart technology and enhanced by their access to even smarter technology.

With teens sending over 3000 text messages a month with girls slightly higher, and preteens over 1700, the world of communication as it was once known has changed dramatically.  What is being sent and received and what is being communicated are short abbreviated messages that suspend rules of grammar and emotion as well. It is the rules of grammar that defines the conversation with its tone and texture, and the same can be said for emotion. Workplaces require a mix of skill, ability and experience to ensure performance measures are most likely to be reached. Such indicators, along with solid hard skills; an ability to perform the work, places a “premium” on communication that demonstrates reasoned maturity, flexibility and a  sensibility that reflects the best of them and their employer.

A number of researchers have been searching to find ways to combat the potential danger of social media sites. Some have postulated introducing kids as young as nine years old because their online behavior is more teachable. If kids learn early on how to conduct themselves online, the potential value of this translates into all of their community to include their future workplace. Early introductions to handling their online community, the more likely there will be unintended consequences later on. It is said that over seven million kids under the age of 13 are already on Facebook which is age restricted. Accounts opened before age 13 are dubbed illegal.

Nonetheless, technology, and smarter technology are here to stay. It is shaping and reshaping values, beliefs and ethic of work. Kids are drawn to the fascination of this new culture with its access to an unparallelled number of communities of communication, and researchers are as interested. Their appetite for data mining is unrelenting, and the numbers are fascinating.

WEBWISEKIDS. ORG published some pretty interesting numbers on the types of online tools and behaviors of our future workforce. Their findings are telling. It punctuates cultural, educational and economic divide between rich kids and poor kids.  As you will see below, the overwhelming number of kids with access to technology beyond smart phones with over 93% of them between the ages of 12-17 was having online access every day and 69% or so owning their own computers.

General Teen Social Media & Technology Stats

    93% of teens ages 12-17 go online

    69% of teens have their own computer

    63% of teen internet users go online every day

    27% of teens use their phone to get online

    24% of teens with a game console use it to go online

    73% of teens are on a social network

    The average teen has 201 Facebook friends

    37% send messages to friends every day

    8% of American teens use Twitter

    Online gaming site Roiworld surveyed 600 teens ages 13 to 17 in late April 2010 and found that teens spend two hours per day online on average, 80% of which is spent using a social network

    As many as 7.5 million Facebook users in the U.S. are under age 13 — a violation of Facebook’s user policies — according to a new study by Consumer Reports reported by Ad Age http://adage.com/article/adagestat/stat-day-7-5-million-pre-teens-facebook/227462/

Teens and Cell Phones

    A 2010 Pew Internet Project survey found that 75% of those ages 12-17 have cell phones, up from 45% in 2004. The Pew Internet Project report also documents that many teens use their cells for an array of activities beyond texting and talking. Of the 75% of teens who have cell phones: 83% use their phones to take pictures, 64% share pictures with others, 60% play music on their phones, 46% play games on their phones

    According to comScore, as of June there were 234 million U.S. cell-phone subscribers 13 and older, and about 33% of these were smartphone owners

    According to market research firm the Yankee Group, 54 percent of 8 to 12 year olds will have cell phones within the next three years (http://cmch.tv/mentors/hotTopic.asp?id=70)

What Teens do on Social Network Sites

    86% of social network-using teens comment on a friend’s wall

    83% comment on friends’ pictures

    66% send private messages to friends

    58% send IM or text messages using the site

    52% send group messages

Bullying & Sexting

    55% of teens have given out personal info to someone they don’t know, including photos and physical descriptions

    29% of teens have posted mean info, embarrassing photos or spread rumors about someone

    29% have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don’t know

    24% have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission

    22% have been cyberpranked

    56% of teens say they have been the target of some type of online harassment

    15% percent of the young people surveyed say they have sent nude photos or videos of themselves

    21% say they’ve received nude photos or videos from others. About half of those involved say they felt pressured to do so

    41% have experienced some form of digital dating abuse — including checking in multiple times a day, reading messages without permission, pressuring others to respond to messages or spreading rumors. – Data from WEBWISEKIDS.ORG

Either way you slice the online pie, workplaces are being impacted and will continue to feel the significance of a highly connected workforce. Geographically, its importance does not change. Kids may live in rural, far out of the reach places by vehicle or other modes of transportation, but technology has always been a facilitator of many things, and distance is for sure one of them. The key is to know as much as you can about their use of social media and technology, and how you can use this incredible skill to better inspire and enhance the workplace.