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As Canadian students return to school, families find high-tech ways to stay connected: New Rogers Innovation Report

August 23, 2012

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Report reveals that technology plays an integral role in bridging the generation gap

TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2012 /CNW/ – Technology will play a critical role in keeping students connected with their parents while they’re at school this year. Released today, the latest Rogers Innovation Report shows that in nearly equal numbers, connected young Canadians (ages 18-24) and their connected parents (40 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively) are using technology to stay close with one another.

Not only is technology keeping families connected, it is also helping to bridge the generation gap between parents and their children. Nearly one third (29 per cent) of parents surveyed say technology allows them to be closer to their children than they were with their own parents.

“The latest Innovation Report findings show that technology isn’t dividing the generations, it’s bringing families closer together,” said Robert Switzman, senior director, Emerging Business, Rogers Communications. “We see how kids are now playing a leading role teaching parents how to get the most out of their smartphones, tablets and other devices.  And as many parents prepare to send their kids off to college or university this year, they will rely on this technology to stay connected with their kids.”

Based on research from Rogers and Vision Critical, The Rogers Innovation Report regularly explores connected Canadians’ habits and views on technology. This latest Report focuses on how Canadian youth (18-24) and parents of youth use mobile technology.

Generations coming together through technology

While nearly one third of Canadian parents (29 per cent) consider themselves to be tech savvy, 43 per cent still turn to their kids for help on how to get the most out of their devices. This isn’t surprising given that the majority of parents (52 per cent) surveyed consider their kids to be much savvier than they are at using technology, such as smartphones and tablets.

But despite this, report findings show that technology habits between youth and parents are remarkably similar:

  • Youth and parents say texting is their preferred smartphone and tablet activity (94 per cent for youth and 82 per cent for parents)
  • Youth and parents both look to technology to stay close to family (48 per cent for youth and 52 per cent for parents)
  • Youth and parents largely look to the same brands when choosing a smartphone
  • Both youth and parents are equally using their smartphones and tablets to read books and magazines, shop online and watch sports
  • The majority of youth and parents (both 97 per cent) choose email as the number one computer activity
  • Youth and parents are active with social media. Fifty two percent of youth are friends with their parents on Facebook
  • Apps are popular with both parents and youth:
    • 79 per cent of youth and 56 per cent of parents download apps on their smartphones and tablets
    • Both youth and parents have close to 14 apps on average on their devices

Increasing role of technology in education

Technology will not only be a way to keep families connected this school year. Based on report findings, tech devices are playing an increasing role as a research and learning tool inside the classroom.

Of the youth surveyed who attend school, the majority are using technology, including smartphones, for educational purposes like online research, accessing coursework, sharing with classmates and interacting with teachers. Almost one in four (24 per cent) believe that having the latest technology gives them the skills they need to get a better job and 20 per cent believe it gives them a leg up for future success. Almost one third (32 per cent) believe that having the latest technology gives them an advantage over their parents’ generation at school and nearly one in three parents (28 per cent) wish they had the advantage of technology when they were in school.

Not only that, young Canadians see technology playing an increasingly important role in the classroom. Looking ahead, the majority of youth (55 per cent) believe technology will transform education and 35 per cent believe that in the next five years all school textbooks will be online or on tablet textbooks.

About the survey

From July 13-16, 2012, an online survey was conducted with 509 Angus Reid Forum panelists aged 18 to 24, and 511 parents of 18 to 24 year olds.  All respondents either subscribe to the internet at home or have a data plan with their cell phones.  The margin of error on the full base — which measures sampling variability — of 1010 respondents is +/- 3.1% and +/-4.3% for each subgroup. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
Join or follow the conversation about the new Rogers Innovation Report on Twitter by following and using the hashtag #RIRExplores.

About Rogers Communications

Rogers Communications is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada’s largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television, high speed Internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, sports entertainment, and digital media. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit rogers.com.

Image with caption: "Report reveals that technology plays an integral role in bridging the generation gap (CNW Group/Rogers Communications Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120823_C9014_PHOTO_EN_17183.jpg

SOURCE: Rogers Communications Inc.