Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Beneath the ‘Digital Native’ myth: Understanding young Australians’ online time use

an article by Jonathan Smith, Zlatko Skrbis and Mark Western (The University of Queensland, Australia) published in Journal of Sociology Volume 49 Number 1 (March 2013)


As young people’s internet use shapes their experiences of education, work and personal relationships, their portrayal as ‘Digital Natives’ suggests that they are invariably better positioned than preceding generations to capitalise on such changes.

Recent debates in internet use research undermine this view.

While acknowledging socio-demographic differences in use, theorists disagree as to whether these reflect disparities in internet access, processes of social stratification, or users’ rational assessment of risks and opportunities.

Incorporating these views, this article develops a framework for investigating differences in academic and social internet use by using data from 6,444 high school students in Queensland, Australia.

The results show that different factors structure students’ entry into these use pathways. Since social use depends on one’s home access context, remote students with poorer access spent less time on this activity, whereas students at independent and Catholic schools were heavier academic users, because they possessed the requisite academic orientation.

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