1 March 2012

German divide between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” is vast

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The divide between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” is vast, and a new study of Internet use in the land of Gutenberg finds that twice the number previously believed barely go online at all.

“According to the study, so-called “Digital Natives” – mainly the young – feel safe on the Internet and assume responsibility for their personal data. “I surf, therefore I am,” is the way [Matthias] Kammer [director of DIVSI, the German Institute for Trust and Safety on the Internet that published the study] describes the approach of Digital Natives, paraphrasing French philosopher René Descartes’s famous line “I think, therefore I am.”

By contrast, those dubbed “Digital Immigrants” who regularly — but mostly unwillingly — use the Internet, feel strongly that it puts them at risk, and that politicians should come up with strict new data protection regulations.

And then there are the “Digital Outsiders,” who are so fearful of losing control over their personal data that they don’t go online at all. Fears, as Kammer jokingly explained, include “deleting the Internet” if they make an inadvertent wrong move.”

Read article (English translation of Die Welt article)
Original article (in German)
Press release (in German)
Download study (in German)

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