Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants

I was able to conclude a few things about the broadband after digging through 50 or so pages of statistics on Broadband usage and general Internet connection information provided by John Horrigan in June 2009. In addition, I read through an excerpt Palfrey and Gasser's Born Digital, which was especially interesting to me since I, myself was "born digital."
Glancing through statistics from the 2009 survey about Broadband Adoption, a few things stood out to me. One was the increase in usage of Broadband/Interent among folks over age 65. Another was the increase in low-income households that acquired Internet access. Both of these facts made me think about how necessary the Internet and our online lives are becoming. People who can hardly afford it are getting it, as are people who are quite possibly completely uncomfortable with the concept because they grew up in a whole different age of pre-online life. This is where Palfrey and Gasser's writing comes into play.
As a so-called "digital native," I related to most of, if not all of, this article on the digital age and its relation to people. Digital natives are defined as anyone "born after 1980, when social digital technologies...came online."Yes, I fall into that category. I was digital born. And yes, I have, as said in the book, grown up around digital media. I don't know a life without computers. I write e-mails and Facebook messages far more frequently than hand-written letters. (The only time I really consistently wrote letters was when my best friends were in basic training for the US Air Force Academy. Shout out to you studs.) Thank you letters have always been necessary in my life, however. It's just not the same as a "thank-you e-mail." What I'm trying to say through this tangent, is that although I am a digital native, I'm not entirely digital. Personally. But yes, I rely on my laptop, iPod, phone and TV daily. Hourly. In the very least. And it's been that way for years.

I found the statistics from the Broadband Adoption results interesting in relation to the digital natives. It's a total generational thing these days. To those over 65, the online world is totally unfamiliar and potentially scary and unknown. However, from spring 2008 to spring 2009, the broadband usage among senior citizens rose 19% (Horrigan 2009). This is evidence of how vital having an Internet connection at home really is. Even people who grew up going to dances to meet dates instead of through Facebook, calling or writing letters to friends in order to communicate plans or catch up instead of shooting a quick text their way, are connecting online, and at a bigger rate than the rest of the population.

This also made me think, what would those teen years be like without a cell phone or Facebook? I can hardly imagine. Credit given to the non-digital natives!

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