Digital Natives and the Creation of “New Culture”
Brian currently studies as an eighth grader in a private school in the United States. While his mom used to carry books around when she herself was a student, Brian and his classmates are now being taught how to use the e-reader, a portable device that allows them to read and store hundreds of books. It’s slim, so it’s very easy to carry, yet it offers a great simulation of a real book, such as “flipping” through the pages, adding notes and highlights, and doing extra research when Internet becomes available.
This is a story that goes beyond the evolution—or revolution—in education. Rather, it gives you a snippet of the life of a digital native.
Who Are They?
The digital natives are considered those individuals who are born at a time when technology is in full swing. Thus, from birth until the present time, they have been greatly exposed and consuming technology, including but not limited to televisions, smart phones, e-book readers, tablets, PDAs, and wearables.
There are more than 300 million digital natives all around the globe, and close to 97 percent in the United States belong to such category. They also represent around 30 percent of the world’s population. It may not be not much, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are rapidly changing the kind of culture we used to know.
The effects of the growth of digital natives are wide ranging and cover many different aspects. According to Michael Best, an associate professor in Georgia Tech, the future of a nation greatly depends on two things: technology and the youth. Through a study he conducted with ITU, he hypothesized that those nations with more young people going online are more than likely to lead the others in this digital age.
They will also change the way people communicate. In a business setting, for example, the digital native may compel the adoption of methods such as video conferencing or webinars to help speed up the dissemination of information. BYODs (bring your own device) shall also be the norm, whereby these natives are no longer stuck at their desk to perform their jobs. They will prove that even when they’re in the field, they can still function at their optimum.
The word “social interaction” will also take a completely different meaning. Natives believe that technologies and apps such as Skype will continue to allow them to forge relationships with loved ones, clients, and business partners. These people may appear rather cold in person while thumbing their phones, yet they are actually talking to friends and family.
They shall be excessive consumers of information and news. Among them shall rise a huge number of influencers who can shape the world almost in an instant. Their age will be more than the over-consumption of technology but about harnessing it for greater efficiency, productivity, and cause.
Those who are born from this point will already be digital natives. The possibility of them dominating the world therefore is no longer farfetched, and with their presence, we may all be encouraged to embrace our new culture.