TRENDS ON THE DIGITAL USES AND GENERATIONS
1 Universidade de Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
2 Universidade Lusófona do Porto/CICANT (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Generational inter-learning processes can be of great relevance to increase different generations relations with the digital. Actually, there is currently few research that looks at the digital literacies from the perspective of generational processes. This happens, regardless of the fact that the digital era has contributed to the interaction between different generations (Brites, Amaral, Patrício & Pereira, 2018). According to Bolin and Skogerbø (2013), the digital era is contributing to straight the generations. This paper presents the current state of the art on generations and the use of digital media, assuming that generational media identities are culturally, socially and historically shaped. The objective is to contribute to a theoretical discussion about the uses of digital media from a generational perspective, anchored to the current social context in which the culture of multimedia convergence proliferates.
Firstly, we will address the discussions of whether the digital environment contributes to the same type of media experiences through different generations in contact with each other. Mannheim’s (1952) definition of generation argues that media environments may be considered as ‘generational contexts’, following the idea that different age-based groups arrange the technological experience in a similar way. Boyd argued that social media “allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and they help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family” (2011, p. 39). The engagement of citizens may depend on this tools that can be inclusive instruments to advocacy and promote social change.
Secondly, the discussion will also follow the idea that adults and older people have a digital construction that is grounded on the knowledge of the content of the traditional media, that can give better support in the critical understanding of the digital contexts and contents. Colombo and Fortunati (2011) considered that media experience occurs within people’s cultural environments, an idea that is connected to “generational semantics” (Corsten, 1999). Consequently, it may shape a social construction of a ‘generational identity’ that arises from discursive practices and appropriations of the media and digital media. Therefore, older people have experienced many societal and technological changes (Hagberg, 2016), adults follow technology since they were young in a perspective of living with digital media. Technology lies in the transformations of processes like memory, space, and reflexivity. The processes of generational identity making supported by the media refer to the idea that adults are the ones who have constructed the so-called "web generation" (Aroldi, 2011).
Thirdly, we (re)consider the enthusiastic conception of the digital natives approach as a dangerous conceptualization when we talk about young people knowledge of the internet. As Comunello et al. stated, “the rhetoric embedded in the concept of so-called digital natives (Prensky, 2001) depicts ICT devices as tools inherently fitting for younger people, in a context in which youth has become a (positive) symbolic value” (2017, p. 802). However, the authors reflected on “generational semantics” that “are produced by senior citizens to interpret their own relationship with ICT deals with the perception of both personal abilities and socially expected performances and might be shaped by their own perception of age and ageing” (2017, p. 802).
Keywords: Digital media, generations, media consumption.