A Digital Native, in theory, is a person born after digital technologies came into use, and who grew up with them. According to Wikipedia this could be interpreted widely to mean anyone born after the late 1970s, but it tends to mean those for whom computers, cell phones, the Internet, and MP3 players have been normal facets of life since birth. Those of us who were kids during the days of dial-up and brick-sized cell phones count, but think about those born in the last 10 or 15 years. They’ve literally grown up speaking a different language than their parents. They think differently, they learn differently.
A Digital Immigrant, on the other hand, is supposed to be someone born before digital technologies came into use. Apparently there is a difference between the way these two groups think and act because one was exposed to and shaped by digital technology in their formative years and the other wasn’t. There are different levels of adaptation to digital technology among both groups, but think of it as learning a foreign language – it’s harder as an adult than as a child.
What do you think about these terms though? Are they legitimate? To which group do you belong and how do you see that shaping your thoughts and actions?