Digital Natives, Digital Gullability

Mark Bullen, an academic who blogs under the name of ‘The Net Skeptic’, has long maintained that there is little proof of  the generally held belief that the younger generations are far more IT savvy than ‘us old folk’ who  did not grow up in a digital world.  In one of his recent blog posts he cites this article Trust Online Hargittai,Fullerton et al 2010, which researched how young adults located and evaluated online content. It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to parents of teenagers or young adults that these students displayed an inordinate level of trust in search engine brand as a measure of credibility (as in “it came from Google” so it must be ok: quoting from the report:
“Over a quarter of the respondents mentioned that they chose a Web site because the search engine had returned that site as the first result suggesting considerable trust in these services. In some cases, the respondent regarded the search engine as the relevant entity for which to evaluate trustworthiness, rather than the Web site that contained the information.” Only 10% of the students bothered to verify the site author’s credentials: “These findings suggest that students’ level of faith in their search engine of choice is so high they do not feel the need to verify for themselves who authored the pages they view or what their qualifications might be.”

Maybe its laziness rather than trust that results in them not verifying sources (just a thought!)

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