Young people use social networks to hitch rides - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Young people use social networks to hitch rides

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A growing number of young adults in the U.S. are waiting to get their driver's licenses. So some teens are turning to Twitter and Instagram to ask their followers to help them get around.

Carol Abraham, 18, from Yonkers, N.Y., does not have a driver's license.

"I was thinking about taking driving lessons soon cause I would like to have a nice car and get my license," Abraham said. "But at this moment, no."

And Samuel Brown, 21, from Eastchester, N.Y., waited a few years to get his.

"My friends and I didn't really need a car. So we never felt the need to go out and get a license for it I guess," Brown said. "Our parents would drive us around."

Abraham and Brown are not alone. A growing number of young adults in the U.S. are waiting to get their licenses. According to a recent University of Michigan study, in 1983, 69 percent of 17-year-olds had a driver's license. In 2010 only 50 percent did.

In another study, 31 percent of teens said they could hitch a ride with someone else, if needed.

Enter a new phenomenon on social media called cyber hitch-hiking. Basically teens enter their locations on Twitter or Instagram followed by the hashtag "INeedaRide" to ask their followers to help them out.

"This is the sort of glowing example of social media at its best. It's hey, I need a ride somewhere," said social media expert Chris Dessi. He added that the decline in teen drivers may have to do with a shift in how teens interact with each other, especially when it comes to their smartphones.

"It is a vehicle for communication, it is a digital vehicle," he said. "And if previously you leveraged your car to interact with other human beings and that's the way it went, and now this is a different way, could be."

As for the cyber hitch-hiking, Dessi warned that teens and young adults should make sure to check their privacy settings so only their friends can see where they are.

"Bad people do review this content. And bad people do check out where you are. That's why the privacy settings are so important," he said. "Be aware of it. And even if it's within your friend ecosystem, even if it's people that you know, you're don't necessarily know who they're friends with. So you need to certainly be aware of it."

Even though Tiffany Smith, 19, doesn't have her license yet she said she plans to get it soon. She said she also plans to watch out for other teen drivers.

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