Living online

A woman using a phone

Listen to five different people talking about communication in the digital world and do the exercises to practise and improve your listening skills.


Do the preparation exercise before you listen. Then do the other exercises to check your understanding.

Remote audio URL


Speaker 1

I think that even up until just a few years ago we could never have imagined how our behaviour would change with regards to using mobiles and tablets. I know that I would find it incredibly difficult to live without my mobile. I'm constantly looking at my phone to see if I've got any new messages or updates, and checking my apps to see what's new. I wouldn't say that I post my life online, not like some people I know, but I do like to keep up with what people are up to – friends, family and even other people I know but maybe haven't seen for years, like old school friends, and check out photos of what they look like now, ha ha ha (laughing) …

Speaker 2

In a way, I think it's quite funny that we're always worrying about teenagers and young people becoming obsessed with online communication, but if you ask me we need to worry just as much about adults! At the office where I work, even when we have a break, nobody talks to each other unless they absolutely have to, which is a sorry state of affairs to say the least. Everyone's too busy checking their social networks and sending messages to have time to communicate face-to-face! People spend their lunchtime glued to their screens or barely glance up from their phones. Even during meetings people can't resist subtly checking their phone, and what really irritates me is when you are trying to talk to someone and they're more interested in looking at their phone than paying attention to what you're saying, even though you're right in front of them! Phubbing, I think it's called!  

Speaker 3

I was listening to this discussion on the radio the other day talking about online communication and they were talking about FOMO or, what was it, Fear of Missing Out, which apparently is a kind of modern-day psychological syndrome which we're affected by because of our obsession with online communication. Basically, they were saying that the reason why people feel that they have to be connected 24/7 and communicate everything they're doing and keep up with everything that other people we know are doing is down to this fear of missing out. We're worried that everyone is having more fun than us or doing something more exciting than us. They also said that because we're spending more time communicating in the online world, we're losing the ability to enjoy the present.

Speaker 4

My generation is so different to my parents'. I mean, they're always telling me that they grew up in a world without mobiles and social networking and they managed fine. Hard to imagine how they arranged to meet their friends without a phone … but they say they did! Uh ... I had so many arguments with them while I was growing up, until they let me have my first smartphone. But they didn't let me have Snapchat or Instagram or anything like that! 'It's not the end of the world,' they'd say! They just didn't understand that that's the way people my age communicate with each other. Nobody actually talks on the phone any more. They have no idea how much I missed out on at school being the only one who didn't have Snapchat. Also, at school we had loads of talks and stuff on how to stay safe online and most of us knew that anything you post online was going to be there forever.

Speaker 5

For me, one of the best things about online communication is that you can stay in touch with everyone at the same time, all the time. You know exactly what's going on, when and where, so you never miss out on anything. I love the fact that you can update all your friends on what's going on in your life and they can respond immediately with a like or a comment, so you feel like you're together with people even though you might be completely alone sitting on a bus or at home. I share loads of photos, but I only post up my best edited shots. I hate it when people I know post photos of me not looking my best.


Which of the speakers do you agree with most? Do they express any views that you disagree with? Why?

Language level
Average: 2.7 (12 votes)
Personal online tutoring
EnglishScore Tutors is the British Council’s one-to-one tutoring platform for 13- to 17-year-olds.


Submitted by Caner on Wed, 06/01/2022 - 08:01

we spend more time on the internet than in our normal life

Submitted by felixminecraft on Wed, 09/12/2018 - 08:00

Profile picture for user Hasiki

Submitted by Hasiki on Tue, 07/31/2018 - 01:21

I agree with speaker 5 most. But at home my parents don't let me have any smartphone, they said smartphones are like a sharp knife, if we give you a smartphone you can do something wrong, you can't concentrate into the lesson, and you just always copy the answer from the internet, you can not let your brain work. Anything, I have lots of disagree things with them
English courses near you