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Study shows teens want an iPhone more than a car

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Gadgets and connectivity seen as bigger status symbols than wheels

Remember when getting your first car was a rite of passage for American teens? Whether it was a clunker or something more snazzy, Transportation Department statistics show that in 1978, 50% of 16-year-olds in the United States got their drivers license. By 2008, however, only 30% did so.

So what do today's teens consider a symbol of their independence? According to Sheryl Connelly, manager of global consumer trends and futuring (yes, apparently that's a thing) for the Ford Motor Company, it's the smartphone. And Thilo Koslowski, lead automotive analyst for technology research firm Gartner, agrees that "Mobile devices, gadgets and the Internet are becoming must-have lifestyle products that convey status. In that sense these devices offer a degree of freedom and social reach that previously only the automobile offered."

An upcoming survey by Gartner found that a whopping 46% of people aged 18-24 would, if forced to choose, pick access to the internet over having a car. That number drops to only 15% for Baby Boomers. It's an interesting piece of evidence for how interconnected our world has become that kids would give up the ability to easily travel physically to see their friends. After all, when they can easily text, chat via instant message, and hang out in video chatrooms with friends all over the world, why would you need a car to go down the street?

[via New York Times]

This article was written by Katherine Gray and originally appeared on Tecca

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