For the fun of it: adolescent girls' exploration of information technologies and cyberspace
Whiteman, Ellen Rose
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Adolescent girls of today are the first generation to have wide spread although not universal access to information technologies such as the Internet. This study looks at how adolescent girls use and interact with information technologies. Several participants at the 2000 "Go For IT Girls" conference were both interviewed and asked to demonstrate their information technology usage. The study found that, while girls are confident with their information technology usage, they tend to limit their usage to communication areas. They construct themselves as computer users, but use the technologies in socially acceptable feminine ways. The societal messages of consumerism and the beauty myth work to keep adolescent girls in traditional spaces. They explore cyberspace, but only the socially sanctioned parts. The participants are constructing themselves as computer users, but this identity in not likely to translate into increased numbers in computer science classes, or in future careers in Information Technology fields.