Fax? Unknown in children and young people!

Milestones in device technology, almost forgotten today
Fax? Unknown in children and young people!



By Bernhard Luck

providers on the subject

Half of children and young people have never heard of fax machines, and only a third of 10 to 18-year-olds know what a floppy disk is. This is the conclusion of the digital association Bitkom after a survey among children and young people in Germany that it has commissioned.

Telephone, floppy disk—young people are almost unaware of earlier milestones in device technology.

(Image: © – tab62 – stock.adobe.com)

In the past, it was part of the standard equipment in modern offices – but children and young people hardly know it anymore: the fax machine. Half of those aged 6 to 18 (52%) have never heard of it, 87% of children aged 6 to 9 do not know what it means, and 37% of those aged 10 to 18. “Fax machines are stubbornly present in German offices – four out of ten companies still use them frequently. But the younger generations can’t do much about it,” says Dr Sebastian Klöß, Head of Consumer Technology at Bitkom. “Young people are also not familiar with older milestones in device technology – the younger the kids, the less familiar the technology is.”

The younger the children, the less familiar the technology.
The younger the children, the less familiar the technology.

(Image: Bitkom)

Floppy disks are even less well-known among children and young people than fax machines: only a third of 10 to 18-year-olds (33%) have ever heard of them. While around half of 16 to 18-year-olds (54%) know what the “memory symbol” means, only two percent of the youngest between six and nine do. In contrast, three quarters of 10 to 18-year-olds (76%) know what typewriters are – and just under half of children between six and nine years old (47%).

The smartphone combines many devices and functions

44 percent of children and young people between the ages of ten and 18 know what a Walkman is – but only seven percent of the 6 to 9-year-olds. Two-thirds of 10- to 18-year-olds (67%) have heard of a portable CD player, three-quarters know cassette recorders (76%) and 82 percent record players. Furthermore, nine out of ten know what an MP3 player is – but only 22 percent use it. For music, radio games and the like, most people use smartphones or tablets these days. 85 percent of children and young people over the age of ten listen to music and 39 percent listen to radio plays or podcasts.

Children and young people are also more likely to use their smartphones to make calls (86%). 75 percent use a landline phone at least occasionally. At the same time, many young people are no longer familiar with rotary phones: 33 percent of 10 to 18-year-olds have never heard of them – 67 percent among 6- to 9-year-olds. Telephone booths are also becoming both rarer and less familiar: 22 percent of 10 to 18-year-olds and 51 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds do not know what they are. “Whether you’re listening to music, watching movies, taking pictures or making calls: the smartphone makes many things easier and combines functions that previously required multiple devices,” says Klöß.

About the survey

The information is based on a survey conducted by Bitkom Research on behalf of the Bitkom Digital Association. 920 children and young people between the ages of six and 18 were interviewed. The survey is representative. The questions were: “Which of the following devices have you heard of and do you know what it is?”, “Which of the following devices do you use at least occasionally – either independently or with your parents?”, “Which of the following functions and applications do you use with your smartphone or tablet at least from time to time?”

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