Young People and Technologies: Between Digital Natives and Actual Competences

  • Sandra Zampieri
  • Luca Botturi
  • Spartaco Calvo
Keywords: Digital literacy, informal learning, digital natives, media education


The discussion about the digital generation gap has been lately dominated by the concept of «digital natives», which characterises the younger generation against older «digital immigrants». Different research studies counter such claim, or at least put it in a critical perspective, but the debate is still ongoing. The ICILS study offers sound data in order to analyse the relationship between young people and technologies, in particular within the borders of a delimited geographic and social setting in which schools have not yet acquired a central role in the digital transformation. This paper addresses the following questions: what features of the education system promote the development of digital competences? Can we establish a relationship between age of first use, frequency of use and type of use of digital technologies, and the development of digital competences in different domains? The discussion offers elements to reflect on the role of school systems and policies in young people’s use of digital devices and the Internet.

How to Cite
Zampieri, S., Botturi, L., & Calvo, S. (2018). Young People and Technologies: Between Digital Natives and Actual Competences. Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 40(2), 307–334.