Patterns of and reasons for infrequent internet use: A qualitative exploration of Australian youth

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While there is a popular belief that the digital generation is immersed in and adept at using digital media, recent studies point to a large variation among young people in their appropriation of digital technologies. This study examined the patterns of, and reasons for, infrequent use of digital technology among the younger generation, by conducting semi-structured interviews with 19 school-aged Australian youth. Infrequent users focused narrowly on a small number of applications and did not explore the wide range of available activities. This was mainly due to their lack of confidence and the perceived irrelevance of digital technologies to their lives. Most participants in this study had chosen a vocational path where computers and the internet were not integral to their everyday learning experience. This deterred them from improving their digital media literacy. Based on observations, I argue that it is not sufficient merely to provide access to digital media; rather, users need motivation, skills and perceived benefits in order to utilise this technology fully. In the case of school-aged youth, schoolwork as well as their peer group culture influences how they situate themselves in the digital environment that surrounds them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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