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Digitally native or colonised?

Posted by Philip on 20 July 2014, 1:12 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

Cartoon baby with iPhoneThe phrase "digital native" has evolved pretty effortlessly into the common lexicon in the last five years. But is it accurate or a misnomer?

The most relevant definition of "native" in this context is "belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent" (Dictionary.com). So do iPads, Facebook, X-box or anything else in the digital/online/connected world, to which we may refer to young people as being native, belong to them by birth, by nature or inherently?

I'm splitting hairs here, I know. The thought only came to me half an hour ago in a discussion with someone who may well be described is "digitally native," so it's not like I've thought deeply about it. But it's interesting to consider an alternative frame: that kids and young people aren't native to technology — they're being colonised by it.

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