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A Research on the Internet Usage Patterns of Students From Different Social Classes: also on the Effects of Gender
The study was conducted by using qualitative interviews, in the purpose of understanding the differentinternet usage patternsofmiddle-class and working-class students from two junior high schools in the urban area of North Taiwan. The interviewees were eighth graders of both sexes. The analysis was divided into four aspects: recreation, information and learning, connectionand social networking, and software use. The findings went as the follows. 1. When it came to the digital divide in northern Taiwan, there was not so much gap in equipment and quantity as in quality and access. 2. The two social classes were found very different in their internet behaviors in terms of the four aspects. (1)Recreation: Students from middle class preferred strategy games, while theirworking class counterparts indulged in violenceones. (2)Information and learning: middle-class students used searching tools with great proficiency and were good at synthesizing the information gathered for their studies. On the other hand, those from working class only usedthe tools when needed. (3)Connection and social networking: Students from middle class shared information with specific internet pals, while the working class tended to make friends with many people out there on the Net. (4)Software use: Middle-class students loved to trythe challenging software, while working-class students enjoyed such practical ones as edited photos. 3. If‘recreation’ and ‘connection and social networking’ were subsumed under “social recreation” and ‘software use’ and ‘information and learning’ under “Information use”, two usage patterns emerged. (1)Middle-class studentswere cognition-oriented internet users: they are disciplined in the social recreation and intellectual-scaffolding in information use. (2)Working-class students were emotion-oriented internet users: they are laissez-faire in the social recreation and pleasure-seeking in information use.. 4. There were gender differences too, in the social recreation in particular. Girls enjoyed gossiping, by doing which maintained their social relationship/friendship. As for boys, they played gamesto forget worries and add fun.
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