Developing the Internet-Savviness (IS) scale: investigating the relationships between internet use and academically talented middle school youth

This study investigated the development and validation of a 32-item scale that measures Internet-Savviness (IS). Relationships between this multidimensional construct and other primary variables of interest including age, gender, Internet access, Internet location, and Internet activities were explored. The sample population consisted of 241 academically talented middle school youth ages 8-14 years old. The IS scale showed satisfactory levels of reliability. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a clear, underlying structure of the following dimensions: (a) computer mediated communication, (b) creative expression, (c) information gathering, (d) Internet fluency, (e) Internet self-efficacy, and (f) social collaboration. Internet-savvy scores corresponded to self-reports of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Internet users. Thirty-three percent of youth rated themselves as Advanced users, which aligns with previous research on Internet-savvy adolescents. Although females and males differed in Internet activities and young females scored below males on Internet-Savviness, they caught up by age 12. Overall, there were no statistical differences on dimension or total IS scores for participants in this study. Doing something creative, access at home, exchanging images, access speed, age, and access at a friend´s house were statistically significant predictors of IS scores.

Article originally published in ‘Research in Middle Level Education RMLE Online’, V. 32(2009), n. 5. Reprinted with permission

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