The notion of the digital native, whether constructed positively or negatively, has serious unintended consequences. Not only is it fraught, but it obscures the the uneven distribution of technological skills and media literacy across the youth population, presenting an inaccurate portrait of young people as as uniformly prepared for the digital era and ignoring the assumed level of privilege required to be “native.” Worse, by not doing the work necessary to help youth develop broad digital competency, educators and the public end up reproducing digital inequality because more privileged youth often have more opportunities to develop these skills outside the classroom. Rather than focusing on coarse generational categories, it makes more sense to focus on the skills and knowledge that are necessary to make sense of a mediated world. Both youth and adults have a lot to learn.

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