Guys used to be the primary consumers of gadgets. The next craze was PDAs for professionals. Now kids are the driving force behind technology devices: They use them more extensively and with greater ease than most adults and are totally turned on by the coolness factor.

In Canada, the cell phone is rapidly gaining in popularity, although the market penetration in Canada is still substantially below that of Europe and Japan. Youth are the fastest growing segment for mobile devices and comprise over 27% of the current population. Kids are willing to pay a good portion of their disposable income to own these items of status and convenience because they are relatively small and continue to add a ton of features. That said, they don't have the disposable income (or liberal expenses) of the boomer and Nexus crowd for souped up cells. Hence...the popularity closer to home of pagers.

Pagers are cheap, small and really easy to use. Kids resourcefully transformed the pager into a two way messenger great for communicating messages with each other. In 1998, I caught a student playing with their pager in class. She proceeded to teach me about 15 codes that I "just had to know". Bell Mobility ran an ad with 50 of them three months later. There it is, setting the trend, out of necessity.

e-pagers are the uber-PDA that manages your data and puts you in touch with others. Data management is cool and kids love instant messaging. Ask any youth if they have a hotmail or ICQ account to prove the theory. They want to chat or find out what is going on where they aren't...even if that is just another street corner somewhere else in town. They also like games, colour screens, hybrids (PDA/cell phone, PDA/MP3 player, etc.) and of course, it has to look cool.

Ultimately, kids take these gadgets and give them power through usage. They develop trends and trends are followed by other kids. That is when a gadget is no longer a's part of the culture.