Internet Activities and Developmental Predictors: Gender Differences Among Digital Natives
Widespread adoption of the Internet during the past two decades has produced the first generation of digital natives. Ninety-five children (Mage = 10.4 years) completed a questionnaire that measured three clusters of variables: 1) Internet use at home and school, 2) peer, school, and home self-esteem, 3) and cognitive abilities (planning, attention, and simultaneous and successive processing. There were no gender differences in school-based Internet use and only one gender difference in home-based use. Girls were significantly more likely than boys to report using email at home. Cognitive scores predicted girls’ email use at home and website access at school. Self-esteem and cognitive scores predicted boys email use at home and school and online gaming at school. From a developmental perspective, Internet use may benefit girls more than boys because of gender differences in orientation to the Internet (i.e., accomplishment versus recreation). Although girls used email more than boys, of the current sample of digital natives, boys who used email were brighter and more popular than boys who did not use email.