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Not so ‘techno-savvy’: Challenging the stereotypical images of the ‘Net generation’
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Technology and Media. (CITIZYS)
2009 (English)In: Digital Culture & Education, ISSN 1836-8301, E-ISSN 1836-8301, Vol. 1, no 2, p. 129-144Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is often argued that young people growing up in the presence of the Internet and new media are ‘techno savvy’. They are often distinguished as a new generation because of their relationship with new media,which is assumed to be considerably different, in comparison, to older generations. This new generation has also been characterized as the ‘Net generation’ (Tapscott, 1998). However the stereotypical images of ‘net geners’—being technologically savvy—have rarely been questioned. This article aims at nuancing these images with the objective of exploring the stereotypical images, rather than proving if the images are true or false. By using a statistical representative study of Swedish people’s Internet behaviour and linking the results to an analytical frame of Internet skills, the question, “what is it young people know when it comes to the Internet use and how is it related to the stereotypical image of the ´Net generation’?” is explored. The main findings suggest that various Internet activities differ by age and few activities could be ascribed solely to the so-called ‘Net generation’.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Digital Culture & Education , 2009. Vol. 1, no 2, p. 129-144
Keywords [en]
Net generation, stereotypical images, Internet skills, self-efficacy, techno-savvy
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-11278OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-11278DiVA, id: diva2:294231
Available from: 2010-07-14 Created: 2010-02-16 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. OPENING THE BOX: Exploring the presumptions about the 'Net Generation'
Open this publication in new window or tab >>OPENING THE BOX: Exploring the presumptions about the 'Net Generation'
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are many names or labels which refer to the generation growing up with digital media and these include labels such as ‘Net Generation’ (Tapscott, 1998), ‘digital natives’ (Prensky, 2001), ‘cyberkids’ (Holloway, 2003) and ‘MySpacegeneration’ (Rosen, 2008). The core idea behind these labels is that young people who have grown up surrounded by digital technology are very different to previous generations in their way of using and even thinking about the new digital technology. This appears to be reinforcing a generational divide and makes the assumption that young people can be categorized into one group in relation to their use of ICTs. The approach in this thesis is to empirically explore, in order to nuance, some of these presumptions about the ‘Net Generation’ (defined according to Tapscott). Thus, the research question is: How can the presumptions about the ‘Net Generation’ be nuanced?

The following three presumptions have been explored within the three papers included in the thesis: i) The ‘Net Generation’ diverges from previous generations in relation to the use of internet; ii) The ‘Net Generation’ is techno-savvy or digitally competent; iii) The digitally competent ‘Net Geners’ are also digital participants since there is a causal relationship between digital competence and digital participation. The explorations are conducted by using the theoretical concepts ‘digital skills’, ‘self-efficacy’ and ‘participatory culture’. Several hypotheses,deduced from previous research, have been tested on a national representative sample of people born between the years 1978 and 1997 (categorised as the ‘Net Generation’). The results show that ‘Net Geners’ internet usage is diversified;hence, it is simplified to talk about them as a homogeneous group. Those included in the categorisation have different opportunities to participate in the digital society. Their internet usage differs both in terms of how much time they spend and what they do online. Their digital skills and self-efficacy in the use of computers are also different and so is the perceived feeling of participation in the information society. This implies that the ‘Net Geners’ do not have equal conditions in relation to participation in the digital society. However, what is meant by participation is still an unresolved question which requires further exploration.

Abstract [sv]

SAMMANDRAG

Idag beskrivs ofta generationen som vuxit upp med internet och digitala medier i termer av att vara en ”internetgeneration” (Tapscott, 1998), "digitala infödingar" (Prensky, 2001), "cyberkids" (Holloway, 2003) eller "MySpace-generation" (Rosen, 2008). Dessa antaganden bygger på att det finns en generationsskillnad i förhållningssätt till internet, d.v.s. att ”internetgenerationen” är de som är kunniga och vana internetanvändare till skillnad från äldre generationer som inte helt naturligt kan ta till sig den nya digitala tekniken. Avhandlingens syfte är att empiriskt undersöka ett antal antaganden om ”internetgenerationen” för att ta reda hur dessa kan nyanseras. Således är frågeställningen: Hur kan antaganden om "internetgenerationen" nyanseras?

 

Följande tre antaganden har utforskats inom de tre artiklarna som ingår i avhandlingen: i) "internetgenerationen" skiljer sig från tidigare generationer när det gäller användningen av internet, ii) "internetgenerationen" är tekniskt kunniga eller digitalt kompetenta; iii) den digitalt kompetenta "internetgenerationen" är också digitalt delaktig eftersom det finns ett orsakssamband mellan digital kompetens och digital delaktighet. För att empiriskt undersöka antagandena om internetgenerationen har teoretiska koncept så som ”digital skills”, ”self-efficacy” samt ”participatory culture” använts. Ett antal hypoteser som deducerats utifrån tidigare forskning har testats på ett riksrepresentativt urval av personer födda mellan 1978 och 1997 (de som tillhör internetgenerationen). Resultaten visar att det är en förenklad bild att prata om en internetgeneration. De som ingår i den kategoriseringen har olika förutsättningar att delta i det digitala samhället. Deras internetanvändning skiljer sig åt både när det gäller hur mycket tid de spenderar samt vad de gör online. Deras digitala kompetens och självförtroende när det gäller användning av datorer skiljer sig också åt och det gäller även den upplevda känslan av delaktighet i informationssamhället. Detta indikerar att inte alla har samma förutsättningar att vara delaktiga i det digitala samhället. Vad som däremot innebär att vara delaktig är fortfarande en obesvarad fråga som behöver ägnas mer uppmärksamhet i framtida studier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2010. p. 112
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 50
Keywords
'Net Generation', presumptions, deconstruction, digital competence, digital participation
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12189 (URN)978-91-86694-08-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2010-11-29, O 111, Holmgatan 10; 851 70 Sundsvall, Mid Sweden University, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-02 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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