This research explores teenagers’ knowledge representation of six digital technologies – email, IM, internet, digital photos, sms and games.
Instead of pre-imposing a specific structure, teens freely express everything they consider relevant by identifying the meanings associated with each digital technology. Drawing on cognitive psychology theories and teenagers’ social development theories, the data from thirteen focus groups were analyzed.
The nature of attributes comprising technical features, personal and socially relevant activities/experiences, feelings and attitudes towards these instruments only partially matched other IT conceptualizations. However, those studies applied different methodological approaches. Among the 133 attributes suggested, 30 were shared by at least two digital technologies.The Multiple Correspondence Analysis showed that games were psychologically and functionally (physical attributes) more integrated with IM and internet whereas digital photos were segregated. The communicational and product design implications of assessing attributes are discussed.