Estonian Adolescents' Expertise in the Internet in Comparative Perspective


This paper proceeds from a theoretical assumption that developments of the emerging information and consumer society influence the processes of socialisation in a specific way. Opportunities and freedom of the young generation as consumers of the media and information increase; also, they become more active as producers of information and texts. This, in turn, decreases the authority of (socialising) texts and, indirectly, the authority of the older generation. Moreover, youngsters’ expertise in information technology increases their authority in the eyes of their parents and teachers and facilitates reverse socialisation in this sphere. In transitional societies, relationships between generations are even more complicated due to extremely different experiences of socialisation. To test a part of these assumptions empirically, the paper explores data from two questionnaire surveys of pupils aged 12-18: (1) an international survey MEDIAPPRO, including 8 European countries (2005, N=4776); (2) a survey of Estonian pupils “Youth and the Media 2005” (N=735). The analysis shows that Estonian adolescents are among the most self-confident and independent young Internet users in Europe; however, they are relatively less critical towards the information they retrieve. Several crucial differences from Polish adolescents suggest that socialisation processes do not follow the same pattern in all transitional societies.

Estonian adolescents' Expertise in the internet in comparative perspective
Author biography

Veronika Kalmus

Kalmus VeronikaVeronika Kalmus is a Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia. Her research focuses on socialization, inter-generational relationships, media use and cultural values. She leads several research projects, including “Generations and inter-generational relations in the emerging information society,” and participates in the project EU Kids Online. She has published extensively in international journals and collections, including Childhood, Children & Society, Discourse & Society, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

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