Time of the tech-no: A growing minority of teens are decidedly unwired

Says one teen: 'I don't find it interesting ... Doing what everyone else is doing is not necessarily an attractive thing.'
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

In this wired world, one would have to look hard to find a student who doesn't take advantage of the Internet on some level, but they are out there, reports USA Today.

Call them tech-no's. They are shunning the very thing that most students are embracing with a vengeance——social networks, cellphones, email. Some just refuse to use email. Others reject computer and cellphone ownership completely.

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project poll, 55% of online kids (51% of all teens) ages 12 to 17 have a social networking site, and 64% of online teens ages 15 to 17 have one, but some, like Shane Bugeja, 16, of Columbus, Ohio, prefers not to.

"I don't find it interesting — having someone reading about you, and you don't know them. I haven't found anybody who's sort of like me," Bugeja says. "Doing what everyone else is doing is not necessarily an attractive thing."

These tech-no's aren't consuming all things Internet out of poverty or lack of skill. It's a conscious decision.

"It's not a snap decision. They usually have a good reason. And it's not that they're giving up everything. We're not going back to the Luddite era. These people are using (only) what they absolutely feel like they need," says Larry Rosen, a professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills and author of TechnoStress.

Could this be the first sign of a techno rebellion?

"It is going to become very fashionable at some point to be disconnected," Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo predicts. "There are going to be people who wear their disconnectivity like a badge."

In a world where nearly everyone uses some form of Internet communication, it makes it hard to be a purist.

"The advantages in society of connectedness are astonishing. The difficulty is the inability of people to disconnect. Some become addicted to being gotten to; for most of us, it's a bit of a burden," said Jim Taylor, vice president of the Harrison Group, a marketing and strategic research consulting firm in Waterbury, Conn.
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