Internet Activities and Developmental Predictors: Gender Differences Among Digital Natives

Genevieve Marie Johnson
Curtin University


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.

About the Author(s)...

Genevieve Marie Johnson, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist and lecturer in the School of Education at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Her research interests include digital technologies and human learning, particularly, empirical investigation of cognitive outcomes. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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