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The World of Consumerism

Read the text and do the tasks that follow.


American Teens: Stupid or Spoiled?
I hadn't been to Europe for close to a year, and have to admit I was surprised, even inspired
by the speed with which young people are upgrading their handheld wireless devices over
there. As I strolled the streets of London neighbourhoods, I saw kids taking photos, shooting
video, sending real email (not just text messages or sms, but genuine internet mail), and
even mo-blogging, nearly everywhere I looked.
These just weren't the wealthy kids in the posh areas, but real people from a fairly wide
variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. It seemed to be that a majority of
people under forty, and nearly everyone under 20, was sporting a fairly new and fully
featured mobile phone.
Rather than bemoan the rampant (perhaps American-born) consumerism that may have
contributed to English youth's rapid uptake of new cell phones, I chose instead to explore
the factors motivating all this handset replacement. Why do they want the latest models?
Style? Do they all love cell phone games? The ability to check sports scores from the street?
Why must they send photos to one another with so much urgency that it requires alwaysready wireless access?
The answer occurred to me as I wandered the Knightsbridge district in search of a place to
check my email. There were no Internet cafes. My friends in South Kensington happened to
own a computer and a very expensive and unstable connection. Unlike the United States,
local phone calls in the UK actually cost money - a lot of money.
In such an environment, a highly functional cell phone is not a luxury gadget, but a primary
access point to the net. It's not seen as just another gadget to go along (and ultimately dock)
with the PC, digital camera, mp3 player, web cam, and game console. It is to serve as all
these things, all by itself.
In America, where consumerism still does run rampant, old PC's are stacked in people's
closets, and landline access is cheap, or even free. Access is plentiful.
That's why reluctance of America's youth to dish out two or three hundred dollars on the
latest Samsung camera phone or Sony mp3-capable handset may be incorrectly attributed to
their lack of sophistication with wireless handheld devices. And it's certainly not a low
appetite for digital services, messaging, music, and authoring. America's youth are among
the world's most avid consumers and users of gaming consoles, email, mp3's, video editing,
and web blogs. It's not their lack of technological sophistication that keeps American teens
from investing in souped-up cell phones; quite on the contrary, it's their access to
technologies that are superior for each of these tasks. They play games on a Playstation,
listen to mp3's on an iPod, send messages using a real keyboard, shoot pictures with a
camera, and edit video on a computer.
It's not that American kids don't have cell phones. They do. It's just that they don't have the
same need to use their phones for activities that are already being satisfied better elsewhere.
Even if they don't prove to be eager handset upgraders, America's youth will still rack up
airtime on the cell phones they already have. They're just going to do it the old fashioned
way: talking.
By Douglas Rushkoff, Fri Oct 17, 2003

A. Answer the following questions on the text using your own words.
1 - In London, the author was astonished by how fast people used the latest technology on
mobile phones, why?
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2 - The author also realised that the majority of users belong to what social class?
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3 State the reason why most British own a highly functional cell phone.
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4 - How does the text describe American teens as technology consumers?


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B- Find in the text words that means exactly the following words.
1. highly advanced __________________________________
2. Complain about ___________________________________

3. Placed ______________________________________
4. Inexpensive _________________________________

C - Determine to what the words given below refer to.


1. they (l. 12 ) __________________________
2. it (l. 15 ) ____________________________
3. it (l. 21 ) ____________________________
4. their (l. 31 )__________________________
D- Rephrase the following sentences keeping the same meaning.
1. How do you see your future in this factory?
The reported asked him ____________________________________________
2. Im anxious to find a job, because I want to get married next year.

Ann told me _____________________________________________________


3. Hurry up! Dont forget to switch off the lights.
Jack told him_____________________________________________________
4. I will speak to the manager tomorrow
Jack informed us _________________________________________________
5. People are allowed to visit our factories whenever they wish to do so.
The boss informed ________________________________________________
6. Have you been to the States recently?
________________________________________________________________
7. He didnt get what he wanted, but he didnt blame his friend for it.

If had got________________________________________________________
8. When I couldnt find my house, a policeman helped me.
If the policeman ____________________________________________________