Digital native

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The term “digital native” was initially introduced by John Perry Barlow and Marc Prensky, referring to individuals who have been exposed to digital technology throughout their lives. Generally younger in age, these individuals exhibit a seamless fluency in technology, effortlessly maneuvering through smartphones, social media, and the internet[1]. However, the term has been scrutinized for its lack of solid empirical support and has since evolved within scholarly discourse[2]. New concepts like Digital Visitor and Resident have emerged, and the digital native category has been subdivided into groups such as avoiders, minimalists, and eager participants. Digital natives are typically associated with a desire for freedom, creativity, and personalization, with peer influence playing a significant role in their decision-making process. Their constant interaction with technology can potentially alter brain physiology and thought processes. In the educational context, digital natives tend to prefer interactive and investigative learning methods, showing a propensity for multitasking and visual learning.

Terms definitions
1. internet. The Internet, a global network of interconnected computer systems, utilizes standardized communication protocols, predominantly TCP/IP, to connect devices across the globe. The term 'Internet' has its roots in the 1849 term 'internetted' and was later adopted by the US War Department in 1945. The inception of the Internet can be traced back to the 1960s when computer scientists developed time-sharing systems, which eventually led to the creation of ARPANET in 1969. The Internet operates autonomously, without any central control, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages its primary name spaces. It has revolutionized traditional communication methods and has seen an exponential growth, with the number of internet users growing by 20% to 50% every year. In 2019, more than half of the global population was using the Internet. The Internet protocol suite, comprising TCP/IP and four conceptual layers, directs internet packets to their intended destinations. Fundamental services such as email and Internet telephony function on the Internet. The World Wide Web, an extensive network of interconnected documents, serves as a crucial element of the Internet.
2. discourse. The primary focus of this piece, discourse, is a concept prevalent in social sciences that pertains to formal dialogues or debates centered around a specific subject. It includes the language used, discussions held, and written documents that contribute to our comprehension of societal constructs. Discourse has a profound connection with power dynamics and is instrumental in molding our reality. Numerous theoretical perspectives such as modernism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and Foucault's discourse theory provide insights into discourse. Various forms of discourse analysis like critical, conversation, and Foucauldian discourse analysis aid in deciphering communication trends and societal frameworks. Discourse study is extensively applicable in diverse fields like sociology, environmental policy, and cultural studies, and has deep-seated effects on gendered discourses and societal standards. Esteemed scholars such as James P. Gee, Robert Stalnaker, and Peter Pagin have made significant contributions to the analysis of discourse. Research on discourse is of utmost importance in social sciences as it enhances our knowledge of language, identity, and power hierarchies.
Digital native (Wikipedia)

The term digital native describes a person who has grown up in the information age. The term "digital native" was coined by Marc Prensky, an American writer, speaker and technologist who wrote several articles referencing this subject. This term specifically applied to the generation that grew up in the "digital age," predominantly regarding individuals born after the year 1980, namely Millennials, Generation Z, and Generation Alpha. Individuals from these demographic cohorts can consume digital information quickly and comfortably through electronic devices and platforms such as computers, mobile phones, and social media.

A child using a tablet

Digital natives are distinguished from digital immigrants, people who grew up in a world dominated by print and television because they were born before the advent of the Internet. The digital generation grew up with increased confidence in the technology that they were encircled and engulfed in. This was thanks in part to their predecessors growing interest into a subject that was previously an unknown. Due to their upbringing, this digital generation of youth became fixated on their technologies as it became an ingrained, integral and essential way of life. Prensky concluded that due to the volume of daily interactions with technology, the digital native generation had developed a completely different way of thinking. Though the brains may not have changed physically, pathways and thinking patterns had evolved, and brains had changed to be physiologically different than those of the bygone era. Repeated exposure had helped grow and stimulate certain regions of the brain, while other unused parts of the brain were reduced in size. The terms digital native and digital immigrant are often used to describe the digital generation gap in terms of the ability of technological use among people born after 1980 and those born before. The term digital native is a highly contested concept, being considered by many education researchers as a persistent myth not founded on empirical evidence and many argue for a more nuanced approach for understanding the relationship between digital media, learning and youth.

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