Findings reveal attitudes toward ownership and possession of technology.

• Mobile phone most important digital possession
• BlackBerry’s BBM service means brand remains top choice for 10-15 year olds

We have revealed the insights from the latest wave of our Amaze Generation study, which looks into the attitudes of today’s digital natives towards ownership and possession of technology, and the influence it is having on their overall identity. The Amaze Generation study is a five-year research project looking at the impact of technology on the behaviour and attitudes of 10-15 year olds.

When questioned about the technology they owned, mobile phones were a recurring theme throughout, identified as the most important digital possession by the majority of participants and something that they could not live without. The value the group place on their mobile phones as an intrinsic part of their everyday lives could be seen by some of the participants’ quotes, including “I feel lost without it,” “You always need your phone” and “Mine’s run out of battery and I don’t feel like I’m in this world.”

The Amaze Generation aspires to own the latest mobile technology, with the Blackberry and iPhone leading the way. The belief is that their peers will judge them poorly if they don’t own the most up-to-date device. Whilst ownership of Blackberry and iPhone models are on the rise amongst this generation, with more than half owning a Blackberry, other mobile devices showed a decline this year.

The female participants in particular said that whilst the iPhone was a better phone, BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) functionality meant it was their brand of choice. With one participant saying, “I don’t know what I would do without BBM,” it is clear they believe that those without access to BBM have limited access to the social scene and cannot participate in conversations, missing out on a whole communications channel.

One of the key developments revealed in the latest findings is how the internet usage of the Amaze Generation is maturing. For the first time since the study began in January 2011, e-commerce sites including Amazon and eBay featured in their internet habits, whilst there was a noticeable decline in engagement with gaming sites such as Moshi Monsters. A quarter of those questioned (24%) also said they can’t live without Twitter (compared to only 10% last year), an increase generally noted among the older female participants.

Conversations with the Amaze Generation revealed they are very aware that digital is transient and are always looking for the next big thing, with one quoted as saying, “In 30 years there could be loads of new cool stuff compared to what there is now.” So whilst, Facebook, Google and YouTube remained the top three most popular sites amongst this age group, they were very aware that the site may not be around forever, “I’m not sure how long Facebook’s going to be around for.” Other popular sites, more commonly used amongst the older participants, included Google+ and Twitter.

Ownership of devices such as Apple’s iPod touch and iPad grew across the board, with the male participants showing a preference for the Xbox, iPod touch and home computers. The iPad proved more popular with the females on the other hand, particularly for use in social situations with groups of friends. Looking at the purchasing aspirations of the group, the products on their wish list are all digital, but when asked about what was most important to them, they are, reassuringly, still predominantly the non-digital, sentimental items, such as their grandfather’s watch or childhood teddy.

Looking further into the gender differences seen amongst the Amaze Generation, the male participants seemed most impressed with the capabilities of the latest technologies, whilst the females showed a real ‘scrapbook’ mentality and were still interested in creating printed photo albums and having paper books on the bookshelf.

Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze, commented, “Eighteen months into this five-year study, mobile seems to be one of the clear areas that brands can’t afford to ignore when considering their digital strategies. The hold that BlackBerry, in particular, has over this single group is impressive and its recent decision to focus purely on the business market could be seen as a bold and perhaps blinkered move.

“In this latest phase of the research it was also very clear that the generation’s usage of digital has matured, with an increasing number regularly visiting the likes of Twitter and popular e-commerce sites.”

Launched in winter 2011, the five-year study has been closely following a group of 10-15 year olds to understand their digital selves and examine the way they interact with and are being shaped by technology over time.

Results from previous phases of the study can be seen here and you can also watch the study in action.