The 'Digital Natives' Are Restless

The 'Digital Natives' Are Restless

Huffington Post has a piece detailing the compulsive behavior of one typical 14-year-old girl with regard to social networking and the addiction that consumes her. Describing Casey Schwartz as a “digital native,” the article relates Casey’s flitting between various media sites, such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

The battle to acquire teen users has heated up; in the past week Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, Casey admits her obsession: “I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because. It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life.” 

Casey received a toy computer when she was 18 months old, a cellphone in second grade, and now a white iPhone 4S, which is only out of arm’s reach during school hours; she carries it continually and sleeps beside it. She confessed, “I bring it everywhere. I have to be holding it. It’s like OCD–I have to have it with me. And I check it a lot.”

Casey asserted that a close friend lost her status as part of her inner circle because she didn’t have an iPhone and couldn’t join the group’s iMessage chat. She said, “She wasn’t in the group chat, so we stopped being friends with her. Not because we didn’t like her, but we just weren’t in contact with her.”

The Pew Research center has estimated teenage-girls send and receive 165 text messages in an average day. It’s easy to see why, as Casey says, “We’ll be sitting on a couch next to each other, texting each other. We text in the same room. It’s weird, I don’t know why.”

The Huffington Pots article writes this of Casey’s Internet activities:

Here are just a few of the things Casey regularly tracks: the number of contacts stored on her iPhone (187); the number of people following her on Instagram (around 580); the number of people who’ve asked to follow her on Instagram, but she’s refused to accept (more than 100); the number of people following her Tumblr blog (more than 100); her high score on Dots (almost 400); the number of photos she stores on her phone (363, fewer than before because she’s maxed out her phone’s memory); the number of photos her friends store on their phones (around 800); the number of people she’s friends with on Facebook (1,110) and the number of acquaintances who’ve quit Facebook (three or four). She also uses the app Instafollow to keeps tabs on who’s unfollowed her on Instagram (she quickly unfollows those who defect).

Casey says, “If I’m not watching TV, I’m on my phone. If I’m not on my phone, I’m on my computer. If I’m not doing any of those things, what am I supposed to do? I think that in a few years, technology is going to go back and people won’t use it anymore because it’s getting to be a lot. I mean, I don’t put down my phone. And it makes me wish that I did. It’s addicting.”

Imgage source: Snapchat