Gen X mixes online, personal interaction

Jan. 31, 2013 at 4:53 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Young Generation X adults are just as likely to connect with friends, family and co-workers online as they are in person, a U.S. study indicates.

Researchers at the University of Michigan say adults in their late 30s report they engaged in about 75 face-to-face contacts or conversations in a typical month compared to about 74 electronic contacts through personal emails or social media.

"Given the speed of emerging technologies, it is likely that electronic contacts will continue to grow in the years ahead, eventually exceeding face-to-face interactions," researcher Jon D. Miller said.

"But the young adults in Generation X are currently maintaining a healthy balance between personal and electronic social networking," he said in a university release Thursday.

Miller directs the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the university's Institute for Social Research.

Studying Gen X social networks is important, he said, because these networks, sometimes referred to as "social capital," are a vital component of the quality of life.

"This is the first generation of Americans to reach adulthood at the beginning of the Electronic Era," Miller said. "So it's understandable that they should show a substantial mix of traditional and electronic networking as they build and maintain the social capital that will help to carry them through their lives."

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