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Not so ‘techno-savvy’: Challenging the stereotypical images of the ‘Net generation’

Keywords: Net generation , stereotypical images , Internet skills , self-efficacy , techno-savvy

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Abstract:

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’.

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