The ‘digital curious’: first steps towards a new typology for mapping adults’ relationships with others when using ICT

Rita Bencivenga
Laboratoire d’études de genre et de sexualité, France (

The study described in this article used grounded theory methodology to investigate adults’ accounts of their relationships with others when using information and communication technologies (ICT). Ten women and ten men were interviewed. All were Italians born between 1952-1961. It was found that the participants shared a common eagerness to learn and use ICT, which led us to coin the term ‘digital curious’. They recognised the growing importance of using ICT and realised that they were competent enough to support others in ICT learning or use. Their awareness of their competence and role was linked to their approach to interactions with older and younger people, not all of them easy. The study findings illustrate how the participants’ relationships with older and younger people when using ICT are seen as relevant and offer meaningful experiences. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are also discussed.
Keywords: adults; digital natives; analog natives; ICT; usage

European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, Pre-published, 2017, pp. 1-22
ISSN 2000-7426
© 2017 The author
DOI 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela9117