Born digital: The generation of digital natives

The world – and people with it – have changed a lot. But there is a generation of people who didn’t have to change or learn to manage the new things tech brings to us. Have you ever heard about the generation of digital natives? 

World Wide Web

WWW changed lives of many generations, not just Digital Natives. A little recapitulation will help us understand it better.

Although Internet has existed since the ‘60s, we can say that the world as we know it came into being on 6 August 1991, when the World Wide Web went public.

It’s crazy how technology made a huge progress in less than 30 years and how people combined online possibilities with tech innovations – all in small gadgets we carry around all the time.

Not long after that, the world of social media came into our homes and computers. Better say those big boxes we called super cool new computers. Millennials can tell you everything about Facebook since Day One and how Feed, Inbox and the way of using Facebook have changed over time.

Another cool online platform the Millennials had was MSN.

If you didn’t run home from school each day to turn on your MSN and “buzz” someone’s chat room when – you are not a Milennial!

MSN turned into Skype, MySpace was a thing for some time, Instagram showed up, then WhattsUp, Twitter, SnapChat and so on.

Now we can make digital payments, work remotely, get a loan from a bank, buy everything we want and order any food we like. Also, meeting friends or partners online is a utopia for introverts. We got all this in so little time, can we handle it?

Smartphone generation

Computers made a huge impact in creating the Millennials but smartphones have been crucial for the development of Digital Natives.

They have been able to be online whenever and where ever they wanted.

The possibility of consuming the online world every second of the day is still so new that  we still don’t know how this lifestyle will be reflected in the future. Do you still remember BlackBerry? The smartphone industry started to grow in the 2000s.

Finally, in 2007, the first iPhone came up and set new standards in tech world. Nowadays, smartphone is for a Digital Native what a Pikachu is for Ash. If you watched pokemons you will get it. Basically, it means that you can’t go through the day without your smartphone, which contains all your contacts, apps calendar, planner, notes, reminders, and probably even money, if you have your bank app and a digital payment option.

Young people in the 2000s

In 2012, there was an online contest sponsored by USA Today. In the contest, the readers were choosing the name of the next generation after the Millennials.

A lot of names popped up and there is more than just one name that we use for this generation today. You’ve probably heard about Generation Z, Post Millennials, Gen Tech and Digital Natives. They all refer to the same generation: young people born in the 2000s, the ones who have used technology since early age and have not experienced the world without it.

This generation is described as more educated and well-behaved than the previous ones. But its members are also more depressed and stressed.

Born in online world

Digital Natives are a specific generation because they discovered the real world and the online world at the same time and at a very young age.

They tend to be knowledgeable of technology and social media before they even start going to school. That is the biggest difference between Digital Natives and the earlier generations. The previous generations, for example, Boomers or Millennials, started by watching television and using regular mobile phones and computers that didn’t have many options. In today’s world, they are Digital Immigrants.

That means that they are constantly catching up with tech trends. The digital world is something that they always observe from distance. It’s a large gap because of that between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.

The former are fully integrated in the digital world and the latter will always have some mental barriers about it because they did not experience it as something common when they were young.

Can’t ignore influencers

There are all kinds of Influencers and not all of them belong to the generation of Digital Natives, but that’s not important. What’s important is how this new generation is consuming the content offered to them in social media.

And don’t forget that the generation of Digital Natives spends large part of their day online. Internet gave us access to almost every information we have ever wanted to know or are interested in. However, it all comes down to a few social media platforms and a lot of attention goes only to the Influencers who are probably not even aware of the extent of their impact on the lives of young people today.

Trends are moving so fast – Kim Kardashian being the best example. If she posts a new photo with specific makeup, hairstyle or filter, as early as in the following month everybody will use that makeup or filter and even wear the same hairstyle.

The problem being discussed on this topic is that Digital Natives don’t care about politics and other social topics that other people find important.

Their attention is only focused on their interests which often lead to a consumerist lifestyle. A positive thing is that artistic people and the ones with certain talents have many opportunities for presenting their work to public and for getting confirmation if they are good at it.

old computers

Making a long story short

Long textual content is history for Digital Natives so thank you for reading this!

It happened because everything can be explained by means of a good photo, a few emojies and a sentence or two. Attractive visual contents and short videos are number one in social media today. Everything moves fast and people keep scrolling up and down.

This is why the task of those who put contents online is to make it very attractive, so that someone would stop at a particular post and pay attention to it.

This is why we have so many clickbaits these days because media and tabloids are using numerous tricks to get people’s attention. We also mentioned the influence of influencers. We could say that everything we mentioned, including the Influencers, is the reason why newspapers and other paper editions are rapidly disappearing.

Even fashion magazines in the paper form are threatened because there is nothing they can offer to an average digital native person anymore.

In past times, women would buy and read fashion magazines to find out more about new trends and this year’s must have items. There is no need for this anymore because we have it all in the digital form. It’s not necessary even to search specific information because everything that’s new in the fashion world is presented to us by Influencers using photographs.

Global Generation

This generation knows no boundaries! The whole world is on their plate thanks to tech innovations and digital way of life.

If this sounds very futuristic to you, imagine what kind of generations will be there in a more distant future and what kind of lifestyle will define them. Can’t wait to see!