7. Deconstructing the Net Generation Thesis

Ralf Schulmeister


Several American and Canadian authors have stated that children born after1980 have a common relationship to digital media and have labeled them netgeneration or digital natives. They have characterized the so-called digitalnatives with a number of attributes that constitute a generation. This papertries to deconstruct the net generation thesis by sketching a sequence ofarguments used to deconstruct the digital natives thesis and by explaining thestructure of the discourse. This paper is aiming at the methodology ofargumentation, trying to abstract the logical hierarchy and sequence of thoughtsthat led to a refutation of the net generation hypothesis. An extensive study ofmore than 70 empirical surveys, including two surveys by the author, has beenpublished elsewhere.

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