Blog: 10 “Born Digital” by Palfrey and Gasser


I loved this Introduction! It starts off defining ‘Digital Natives,’ ‘Digital Settlers,’ and ‘Digital Immigrants.’ Digital Natives “were born after 1980, when social digital technologies, such as Usenet and Bulletin board systems, came online” (pg 1). Digital Settlers are people that “grew up in an analog-only world-have helped to shape its contours. These older people are online, too, and often quite sophisticated in their use of these technologies, but they also countering to rely heavily on traditional analog forms of interaction” (pg 4). Finally, Digital Immigrants “have lived much of their lives online, with out distinguishing between the online and the offline. Instead of thinking of their digital identity and their real-space identity as separate things, they just have an identity (with representations in two, or three, or more different spaces” (pg 4).  This article was very ‘to the point’ and has distinct goals and concerns about Digital Natives and the future of the Digital Age.

Some of the topics this introduction talked about were how teachers and parents had the most important job in to teacher younger people how to use the technology, as well as how to be safe, and use the technology in a respectful way. Many are worried that technology makes some (most) bad situations worse. For example, bullying, stalking, violating copyright laws, and must more. Another concern that the book pointed out was the growing barrier between those that have access to the technology/network and those who don’t. Which leads to a gap, barrier, to langue and culture, it is becoming to great. The good news is that the people that we look up to have traditional values and common sense that worked for them years ago and can still be used today with Digital Natives, and surprisingly that advice is relevant in the “new world,” of the Digital Age (pg 10).

Major worries beside of what I said so far, is a greater divide between those how have and those have not, which relates to a regional access. Meaning that wealthy countries “have high[er] levels of broadband access, high[er] rates of literacy, and educational systems that (often) emphasize critical thinking” (pg 14). After this statement the reading pointed out an interesting fact; the “majority of young people born…today are not growing up as Digital Natives…The problems facing Digital Natives are mere abstractions” (pg 14).  The next worry pointed out in the reading was a growing gap on participation; the opportunities lead to possibilities in new forms of creativity, learning, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

“When you realize that access to the technologies is not enough,” what do you do? As parents and teachers, what can you do? The reading suggests you teach. Help young people learn Digital Literacy -” the skills to navigate this complicated, hybrid world that their peers are growing up in” (pg 15). Role models, “this type of inequality must be over come…. The bad news is that there is no easy answer…” (pg 15).

The last part of this reading points out the most important thing we need to keep in our minds, it says, “we need to prepare our Digital Natives and other young people to lead the way themselves toward a bright future in the digital age” (pg 15).

I just loved all the points in this reading. This book needs to be given out all teachers and parents, of all ages. From this short introduction I can trust that this book gets ‘it’ and has the honest truth but also provides ideas to make that bad better and the better it’s best. I have talked about most of the main points in this reading, all of which seems to have important effects on the future and they all seem to be intertwined together. One thing can’t be solved unless another thing is; just like global networking, everything is connected. But raises the issue that everyone is NOT connected, not yet.

According to the definition i am a Digital Native, though at times I feel as if I am in the Digital Immigrant group. My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. My bother and I shared a computer that was my father’s old computer, their for it was not up-to-date. It had a slow connection speed and froze a lot, eventually it died, and is still sitting in my parents lifeless and covered in dust. My brother and I didn’t get cell phones at an early age (like you see today) and when we finally got them we could really use them to contact anyone besides our parents because the cost of calling my friends or even sending text messages was dear. I would have day my brother and I really got idea of social networking and the global connection when we got computers from school. Our school was, and still is, trying to become a paper-less school. Students get computers in the 7th grade. Now after saying all that I don’t think I was a true Digital Immigrant, I really think now that I fall into the “have not” group, and I would say that we ‘had little.’ Today I live off of my computer. I’m on it every day, almost all day. I have an iTouch, which keeps me up-to-date with tweets and emails. I have a Face book and Twitter and Google+, which keeps me connected with EVERYONE. I would have to say before you think I’m one of ‘those’ people who can’t live with out technology, you’d be wrong. I am well able, unlike a few of my peers, to turn the computer off, walk away from my phone and iTouch, and live life like my parents did. I grew up with those core values and traditions and common sense to know how to connect with all Digital groups (Natives, Immigrants, and Settlers).

My last note is that I hope that schools and parents incorporate/take the time to teach younger people Digital Literacy. It seems to me, that in comparison to the ‘sex talk,’ it’s not a subject that doesn’t like to be talked about nor do many know how to really make the topic ideas stick in a young person’s head. I think that schools should find the time, like they do for sexual education, to teach their students that there are rules to the internet. There are consequences for their actions. That what you do or say one the internet never gets deleted and is never forgotten, it is part of you, your identity.

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