Digital Normals

Digital Normals

This may be my favourite bit of research lately. Teens aren’t internet superusers: if anyone is, it looks like it’s adults.

Pull this out the next time someone regales with you more anecdotal evidence that the kids these days are “digital natives” and we cannot understand their ways.

3 thoughts on “Digital Normals

  1. Having taught teens and young adults grades 9-post grad I agree with you 100%. I have seen no evidence at all that teens or young people are *more* web savvy than older users (aged 30 and on). In fact, I find, in general, interest seems to focus intensely on a very few sites: Facebook, Youtube, IMDB and chat applications. What am I basing this on? Random surveys in class (I did a “snowball” a few times where I’d ask them to jot down their favourite 5 sites then throw the list to the front of the room – totally anonymous – everybody would pick up one of the crumpled lists and read it out). With post secondary learners I would see them – directly observe them – on the sites of choice. Almost entirely Facebook, email or instant message. Very few MySpace users at all.

    Twitter was new to all of my students at all grade levels – though the post secondary learners were more likely to either have accounts or know somebody who did.

    In general, I find my adult friends far more curious about the net and tech in general – and this is a wide curiosity (as in “reading widely”) as opposed to a branded, focused use on one or two applications or services.

    I may not have a Ph.D or a bunch of research behind me but I have been working with students directly for the past five years at a variety of grade levels and socio-economic contexts.

  2. Yeah, I sensed our rightness on this front, but it’s nice to have some real concrete confirmation. Guaranteed the digital natives/net generation myth will not slow down in the slightest in the face of actual research.

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