Digital Natives, Visitors, and Residents

Technology evolves more and more every day. As someone who has grown up around it my whole life, it is fascinating to see how far both technology itself has come, as well as the people who use it. Reading these articles and watching the video about digital natives, visitors, and residents were very interesting, and they brought up many points that I had never thought of before about how myself and the people around me have grown to use technology. The factors of age, accessibility, usage, and where you land on the technology spectrum are all things that I had not thought about before when it comes to who you are in the digital world, and they are all important to consider.

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When it comes to me personally, I find myself to be more of a digital resident. I made my first ever social media profile at the age of twelve, and I have created multiple more since then. Facebook, twitter, instagram, you name it, I’m on it. I find myself being pretty comfortable online, and sharing a lot about who I am as a person. Of course, like many people, I use technology for many of the same things that visitors do. However, I definitely have that “extra layer” of having an online identity. Just like it is stated in the Mesch article, I feel lucky to have the opportunity to “express my real inner self” online. I post things such as pictures of things I think are funny, my favorite memories of me and my friends, and videos on what I find to be important political issues. Giving other people online an insight to who you are as a person is a large part of being a digital resident, and I feel that that is a major part of my life.

The topics of age and access when it comes to technology are extremely important, but seldom ever thought about. I had never considered changing the term “digital natives” until reading these articles, but I completely agree. Being a future teacher, I have been around many students of the same age group who are all at many different levels of technology use, based on the accessibility of technology to them at home. Just because someone was born within the technology wave, does not automatically make them a “digital native”. This is why both age and accessibility need to be considered, and focusing on the type of technology user you are is a much better aspect to focus on. The fact that these new terms are also based on a continuum and not a “this or that” mentality is also important. Technology users can place themselves on the spectrum based on their preferred technology uses and experience, not just somewhere solely based on the time in which they grew up. I think this point made in the articles and the video are very important to consider when talking about technology use, and this new terminology will help people get a better grasp on the type of technology users we all are.

Future Educator, University of Minnesota 2021

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