Digital Editor Warns Media Outlets to Heed Results of Communication Survey Among Young People

News outlets who refuse to recognise the ways young people use communications technology are “burying their heads in the sand” – the digital editor at the Daily Record has told allmediascotland.

Iain Hepburn, who has been digital editor of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspapers for the last two years, was responding to a survey revealing that 65 per cent of teenagers say they download files to their mobile telephones, with one in three sending more than 100 text messages per day.

The study – commissioned by Skills Development Scotland and which polled 625 people between the ages of 16 and 19 – also found 44 per cent of teenagers never use email. 

Says Hepburn: “The numbers are fascinating. It is a real, eye-opening look at the next generation of internet consumers.

“Looking at the statistics on email especially, there has been an incredible explosion in Smartphones and everyone has email access on their Blackberry, Android or iPhone, and yet the numbers of teens using mobile email is very small.

“That suggests this audience is looking at alternate ways of communication. Texting is obviously very heavy use and also the fact they are looking at social networking sites with such regularity on their phones and via the web is very interesting as well.”

The key findings of the study revealed:

* 55 per cent of young people communicate with friends by text hourly

* 32 per cent text more than 100 times a day

* 90 per cent of those surveyed have a Bebo account, with 44 per cent accessing it daily

* 77 per cent of those owning games consoles, such as an Xbox or Playstation, use these to go online

* 44 per cent never use email

* While 65 per cent download files to their phones, just two per cent use their phones to download podcasts

Added Hepburn: “It suggests there is very much a need to engage with that audience via these sites.”

“Certainly, if we are looking at expanding the audience more than just the traditional demographc and especially if we want to go into the younger demographic, which is tomorrow’s internet consumer, we absolutely have to look at things like building content into games, building feeds into consoles and into gaming structures, and finding partnerships with publishers that allow us to do that.

“It’s a way of engaging with young people and if you are engaging with them at that age… then there is more chance of them coming back and being consumers in future. To do nothing would burying their heads in the sand.”