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A teenager's life in a digital world

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Emma Macdonald

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Georgie Sanderson spends time with her family and friends not just digital technology.

Georgie Sanderson spends time with her family and friends not just digital technology.

Like most of her friends, Georgie Sanderson has 24-hour-a-day access to technology through her mobile, iPod Touch and home computer. But the 15-year-old Canberra Girls Grammar School student says she is too busy to fritter her days away on Facebook or Snapchat, so she limits checking in to once or twice a day.

''Year 10 is pretty demanding in terms of school work and I have better things to do with my time, such as being outside or hanging out with my friends,'' she said.

Georgie also finds time for hockey, has a part-time job, likes to unwind with a bit of TV in the afternoon, and helps around the house, depending on what jobs the family roster has earmarked for her.

Tech graphic

Tech graphic

Georgie's laid-back approach to IT seems to reflect the findings of a new University of Canberra survey, which found teenagers are not completely dominated by technology - despite stereotypes that they are glued to their smartphones.

Old-fashioned pursuits, such as spending time with family, homework, TV, odd jobs, hobbies, sport, friendship and reading were all activities that teenagers reported they undertook with greater frequency than reaching for their laptop, according to the UC report Digital Technology and Australian Teenagers: Consumption, Study and Careers.

But the report also found mobile phones were important to teens - with 95 per cent of 18-year-olds owning one and 82 per cent sleeping with it switched on and beside them all night.

For Georgie, sleep is more important than texting. ''Once I go to sleep I usually don't look at my phone, but in the morning I find I have been bombarded, which can be extremely annoying,'' she said.

''So many times I wish we didn't have social media - because it is so distracting, and I blame the internet for my procrastination.''

To that end, Georgie said she was careful about her use of IT.

''I have some friends who are just addicted and they couldn't live without Facebook. I admit I'm very attached to my iPod Touch, but I am not obsessed.

''If I find myself being drawn into it and on Facebook for more than an hour, I tell myself to stop it - at least I am aware of it.''

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