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April 10th, 2012

Surfing the Web vs. Cruising the Strip

Modern teenagers would rather socialize with friends on the web than get in a car and go see them in person. Is this a glitch in the matrix, or for real?

It’s real. Recent studies reveal that being digitally connected is more important to young people than the freedom a car brings. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that the current number of American 17 year-olds with driver’s licenses has dropped by 50% from 30 years ago. The pattern is repeated in countries with quality Internet access, including Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway and South Korea, where the number of young drivers has also declined over recent years.

The theory is that virtual contact has reduced the need for young people to get together face-to-face. A November Gartner study supports this, showing that 46% of people aged 18 to 24 would take internet access over access to a car of their own. This is not too surprising when you consider the price of a car, insurance and fuel compared to the price of an iPhone, for example.

Does this mean that dependence on digital devices instead of wheels for socializing can save lives? Could be. Read more…