I used to watch my kids when they were early school age, bounce between play station and online computer games with nano-second attention spans. Now they compose music on laptops, communicate on facebook and tell their parents and their friends how to program their iPhones, set up their printer and get more out of their technology.
I always liked to let my children know that my generation invented the computer, however they grew up with the digital world where as I immigrated to it.
So there is a real difference between the Digital Native and the Digital Immigrant created by Marc Prensky in 2001. And here’s the proof.
A 2008 study conducted at UCLA by Dr. Gary Small, Dr. Susan Bookheimer and Dr. Teena Moody, all experts in neuropsychology and neuroimaging used MRI scanning to study brain activity and measure neural pathways during computer tasks that involved reading and Google searches.
There is a distinct difference when comparing Internet-savvy users and naïve users during the Internet search task.
These guys, who did this study, go on in their literature to suggest that the influence of digital technology on childhood development may redefine traditional stages of development.
The scary thing is that Palfrey & Gasser in their book, “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives” suggest that social identity has changed too, with many Digital Natives having multiple personas online.
Know anyone with a different Facebook persona to their offline one? How many gamers use a different name online or online community members who use a different name in forums and chat rooms?
Is each one a different social personality with different interests and tastes? What are the implications of that on our society? How do we market to consumers with multiple personas?