Digital Native

What Does Digital Native Mean?

A digital native is an individual who was born after the widespread adoption of digital technology. The term digital native doesn't refer to a particular generation. Instead, it is a catch-all category for children who have grown up using technology like the Internet, computers and mobile devices. This exposure to technology in the early years is believed to give digital natives a greater familiarity withand understanding of technology than people who were born before it was widespread.


Techopedia Explains Digital Native

Not all children born today are digital natives by default. Interacting regularly with technology at a young age is the deciding factor. That said, children today are more likely to be familiar with the terminology of the digital world. This isn’t to say they will intuitively understand computer programming or how a network transmits data. They will, however, be better placed to understand these technologies as they will have seen them in action many times.

Controversy surrounds the concept of digital natives. Many teachers are still digital immigrants – people who were exposed to technology later in life and teach in the way they were taught. Some people suggest that digital natives need to be taught in a fundamentally different way. These people believe digital natives think differently due to their early exposure to technology and have become accustom to using technology to solve the repetitive tasks that form the basis of traditional learning.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.