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In Google We Trust: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web Content [Research]

Googlelogo150ReadWriteWeb has an interesting piece about a research study, Trust Online: Young Adults’ Evaluation of Web Content, out of Northwestern University which found that the much lauded "digital natives" aren't so savvy and that they may trust Google a little too much.

Sure those digital kids can surf the web and text, but when it comes to web credibility and media literacy, they are lacking the skills necessary to properly vet digital resources.

As readers of this Barking Robot are aware, this is a topic that I've been talking about for some time.

Here's the RWW with a breakdown of the study:

"In Google we trust." That may very well be the motto of today's young online users, a demographic group often dubbed the "digital natives" due their apparent tech-savvy.

Having been born into a world where personal computers were not a revolution, but merely existed alongside air conditioning, microwaves and other appliances, there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.

That may not be true, as it turns out. A new study coming out of Northwestern University, discovered that college students have a decided lack of Web savvy, especially when it comes to search engines and the ability to determine the credibility of search results.

Apparently, the students favor search engine rankings above all other factors. The only thing that matters is that something is the top search result, not that it's legit.

During the study, one of the researchers asked a study participant, "What is this website?" Oh, I don't know. The first thing that came up."

That exchange sums up the overall results from this study: many students trusted in rankings above all else. In fact, a quarter of the students, when assign information-seeking tasks, said they chose a website because - and only because - it was the first search result.

Trust Online: Young Adults' Evaluation of Web Content

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