Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Re-evaluating the “digital divide” in a changing media landscape

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Maria Corkin, Kane Meissel, Kerry Lee, Nasser Giacaman, Elizabeth Peterson
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Psych and Cog
Secondary Classification:

“Digital divides” may impact on children’s ability to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a digitally-mediated world. One form of digital divide may arise from having restricted, or no access to digital technologies or certain types of technologies, or no access to the internet. Another form may result from differences in the media literacy and digital competencies of some children compared to others, as the ability to use screen media proficiently facilitates children’s access to a number of social and educational benefits.

Not all media use is alike. For instance, van den Beemt et al. (2010) used factor analysis to analyse a wide range of activities that youth carry out using interactive media. They extracted four factors: interacting (communication), performing (playing games), interchanging (social activities), and authoring (production of an outcome). Authoring and creation are activities that arguably require higher levels digital competence than, for instance, passive consumption. Higher levels of engagement with these "higher" activities may place children at an advantage in the New Zealand education system, as it increasingly embeds screen media and technologies in its curriculum.

The aims of this research are to:

1) Identify categories of screen media use and clusters of screen media users.

2) Examine the relationships between different categories of screen media use and their relative contribution to children’s school competency.

3) Identify factors that may be related to the different ways that children use screens.

van den Beemt, A., Akkermant, S., & Simons, P. R. J. (2010). Patterns of interactive media use among contemporary youth. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27, 103–118.