‘Digital natives’: Honour and respect in computerized encounters between Israeli Jewish and Arab children and adult learners

In Israel's Multigenerational Connection Program (MCP), children instruct adults in computer and Internet use. Taking children's advantage in digital literacy as a given, the study examines their generational status in computerized encounters that MCP creates in two schools, one Jewish and one Arab. The data were gathered by means of qualitative participant observation. The results suggest that the family–community-based habitus is reflected in the interpretation of the program by the computer teacher at each school, who, by ‘importing’ it to MCP, encouraged relations of respect or honour between children and adults. The significance of these relations, rooted in ethno-national relations between the groups, transcends the global discourse about the uniformity of the generational digital divide. While the Arab group's ambivalence toward MCP weakened the children's status, the Jewish children attained empowerment as young teachers. The conclusions focus on the implications for intergenerational relations and children's self-image of the preservation of the Arab honour-contingent habitus in a Western educational context—a self-chosen strategy that may widen the digital divide between Arab and Jewish children.

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