There’s a cartoon making the rounds online about a FaceTiming family. While Mom and the teens can clearly see each other’s faces, Dad doesn’t seem to get it that holding the phone to his ear isn’t the best way to communicate using FaceTime or video calling.
Those of us who are facile with technology products – let’s not be hard on any new users. After all, activities like communication work best when everyone is involved.
Newer technology can be daunting, even those who are well-experienced with one type of technology may be new to another. Age alone does not define who is the most experienced or tech-savvy.
Presence of children is a contributing factor with technology adoption. Based on results from the most-recent wave of Technology User Profile, adults in households with children are more interested in wearable technology. Over half (52%) of adults in households with children agree or strongly agree with the statement “I would love to be the first to use wearable technology.” Adults in households without children aren’t as enthusiastic, with only one-third (33%) similarly agreeing.
Making video calls with services as Microsoft Skype, Apple FaceTime, ooVoo, Tango, Google Hangouts, or the like is done more often among households with kids present. Just over one third (34%) of all Connected Adults who use their devices to communicate make video calls. Among younger (18-39) employed adults with children in their household, well over half (57%) make video calls. Among older (40+) adults who aren’t employed without children present, the number is one-sixth (16%).
Even in one narrow type of activity – communications – there are a wealth of options. From social networking to email and voice or video calls, technology users have choices.
The top-third of the most broadly communicative among us use their Connected Devices for 7 or more types of communication activities – from email to voice calls, text messaging to video calls.
One of the biggest factors separating the most-active communicators from others is the presence of children, along with age and employment status.
Among adults age 40 and up, employed and with children in the household, 39% are in this most-active communicator group. By comparison, only one-fourth (25%) of those without children in the household are as active. The difference is even more striking among the 40+ who are not employed outside the home: One-third (33%) of those with children in the household are the most-active, versus only 13% of those without children.
Video calls and apps like FaceTime are just one mode of communications in active use. Not everyone uses the same mode of communication. While some of us favor email, others prefer text messaging.
For adults with children in the household, several communication activities are used more often than for similar adults without children.
Writing a blog or online journal is an activity for many more adults in households with children than among those without, at 24% and 14% of Connected Adults, respectively. For making video calls, the gap is slightly narrower at 9% – the difference between 47% of adults with kids and 28% of those without.
In households with any children age 5 and younger, adults use the broadest range of communication activities across their Connected Devices. Just over half (51%) use 7 or more types of communication activities, well above the one-third of Connected Adults this usage level represents.
It was a prescient Groucho Marx who once quipped: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
Fortunately, over 63 million adults have children in their households. Whether or not those younger pioneers will be kind and show their elders how to use their devices to communicate remains to be seen. Whether anyone will ever develop an inter-generational translator, so that parents and teens can finally understand each other, is something perhaps too daunting for even the technology industry.
These results are based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile, the TUP 2014 edition. The large-scale survey is in its 32nd continuous year, documenting and detailing the full scope of technology adoption and use. In addition to detailing the many devices adults use to connect and sizing targeted market segments, the survey-based research details what people do with their devices. It reports which activities adults primarily use with which device. For example, TUP reports which market segments use their Smartphones or Desktops as their primary communication device, as well as which devices are primarily for entertainment, shopping, social networking, and other types of activities.
Further results and datasets are available to TUP subscribers, including the full details on these technology users: which devices they intend to buy, which other devices they already actively use, the activities they’re doing and which device they do them with, their complete demographic profile, tech spending, wearable technology, and more.
Technology companies who want to know more about adults with or without children, video callers users, or about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.