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THEN: A group of Jersey teens crowd around the breakfast table the morning after a slumber party—a sort of 1950s social network. Television was exploding onto the American scene, capturing the attention of the first wave of postwar baby boomers. According to one study, the average teen of the era watched six hours of television a day. The most popular program for teens was American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, which welded TV to the burgeoning business of rock ’n‘ roll. Soon teen girls were swooning over heartthrobs like Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Ricky Nelson.
NOW: While sleepovers still abound, today’s teens are more likely to swap the morning’s gossip with their digital devices than actually chat around the breakfast table. The Internet has become the primary source of entertainment and information, and texting and social networks are the main means of keeping in touch for the babies of the baby boomers.