Cisco: Most of Gen-Y regard smartphones as 'extra appendage'

Cisco: Most of Gen-Y regard smartphones as 'extra appendage'

Summary: Admittedly, most IT departments know that Gen Y doesn't follow the rules all of the time, but a Cisco report argues that they don't realize how prevalent it is.


As there are 206 bones in the human body, then the smartphone could be considered the 207th for the members of Generation Y, according to the 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report.

To get a better understanding of just how strong the mobile addiction among Gen-Y'ers is, researchers found that most of them view their smartphones as an "extra appendage" -- to the point where more than 2 out of 5 said they “would feel anxious, like part of me is missing,” if they couldn’t use it.

While that sounds a bit disturbing, there is a silver lining -- at least for employers and potentially businesses and marketers. Cisco argues that craving for connectivity is determining the world's next workforce: shaping how, when and where we work, shop, and play.


For example, while two out of five said their company’s policy forbids them to use company-issued devices for non-work activities, nearly three out of four of them said they don’t always obey these policies.

Breaking the rules at work shouldn't be condoned, but it is important for IT departments and managers to be aware of this.

Cisco researchers acknowledged that most IT professionals already know that many employees don’t follow the rules, but the problem is that they still "don’t understand how prevalent it is," adding that more than half of IT professionals worldwide "thought their employees obey the policy on not using work devices for personal use."

If that hasn't been already determined as a major issue in 2012, it will be at the forefront of IT priorities in 2013.

Here are some more highlights from the report:

  • 66 percent feel that "employers should not track employees' online activities," adding that "it's none of their business.”
  • Nearly 90 percent upload photos to share or store on Internet sites.
  • 57 percent are willing to share their email address with stores and online sites in order to receive notices about discounts and sales. (But they are not as willing when it comes to other personal data such as phone numbers or home addresses.)
  • 81 percent of respondents said they think people have different online and offline identities.
  • Smartphones now rival laptops as the single most-desired device by 18 to 30 year-olds.

For reference, this report is based upon the findings from a survey conducted by InsightExpress of 1,800 college students and young professionals aged 18 to 30 across the following 18 countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, India, China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Images via Cisco

Topics: Cisco, Apps, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Most of Gen-Y regard smartphones as 'extra appendage

    yes and they still can't find their a** with both hands! But thats ok they'll all be killed off by crossing the street while txting,.....BUKU Darwin Award's!!!
    • Have they got a job yet?

      I thought Y'ers have pretty high unemployment rate, which is not surprising seeing what they do in their daily life.
  • Me think Gen X is getting a bit old and crusty

    As a post WWII gen, I missed Vietnam by a year and after college went for a 20 year swim in the US Navy, perhaps the greatest applied technology innovator of all (Where would it all be were it not for DARPA?) I have seen the Gen X kids settle down and have their own rather conventional lives.

    As the parent of a Gen Y kid, I have nothing but admiration for him, he takes on things few others would do. He is third generation Navy, an Ensign (first step in a long chain) and a Marine Biologist, a career he has wanted since he was 14.

    Like most of his peers he keeps what he needs on him (Dive watch, wallet) and puts the rest in a gear bag. I am a retired Naval Officer, 20+ in and then out to do my thing, coach gymnastics. I see a lot of kids every day. My son may be an anomaly in some senses, but I can't think of a Gen Y engineering student that would trade a good laptop for a smartphone.

    My ex and I encouraged him to do his thing which was diving and surfing, now he is a sailor for the USN. As with any generation, if war doesn't get you first, then it's up to the kid to find options. His fiance is getting her MS in Geophysics.

    WIthin the last 23 years I have received numerous phone calls and maybe two texts from my son. He always told me it's easier to call than text. I have a Gen Y employee, he only texts me when he is trying to avoid talking to me.

    Gen X folks turned old fart really fast. So judgmental. As a post WWII baby, I always wait to see what's coming next. Maybe it's because I've seen both miracles (space flight) and the divine (JFK) in my time. Maybe it's the rise of Zuckerberg's (zero value added product) and the lack of Gates and Jobs (true innovators) role models. In my case it was ADM. Elmo Zumwalt and LCDR Roy Boehm.

    Gen Y and their preferences are what they are, the economy and all, it's still more expensive to run a smartphone than some cars. For some reason I think we're judging them (Gen Y) while the jury is still out. My kid would rather surf than game as would his fiance'. I think the only thing different between the generations are a few social habits and the clothes.

    People all do the same thing, they just do it both the same and differently. Technology survives depending on it's usefulness to a segment of the population.