Digital Natives vs. Millennials

Last year, I worked on a research project with two other women in my technology major on the subject of digital natives in technology. There I learned the difference of millennials and digital natives. Millennials have this stigma or reputation of being impatient,coddled, and self-focused. Digital natives are not as well known to have their stereotype strung across multiple medias yet, but if I were to take my best guess of a future stigma, I would say connected, instantaneous, and  nerds. They are two different categories  that own different parameters. One set by generation and year the person was born; and the other label set by socioeconomic status and whether or not there was technology readily available from childhood, which can also be determined by year.

When was the last time you heard someone say, “Oh, yay! They changed the program I use at work. Now, I get to learn something completely different so I can do my job.”  Most likely, never. No one likes change forced on them. Since every office wants to stay on the cutting edge of their profession,  developing technology has in a way forced change quickly and repetitively on society. Why does society have such a negative stigma of young people (Digital Natives and Millennials)?  Younger generations think almost like a computer with quick logic, and technology has morphed the way younger society thinks, acts, and contributes to their future.  So in order to work with, train, and communicate with digital natives and millenials,  digital immigrants must figure out why they are so different and change behaviors. How is it that we use the same method of teaching in classrooms when students’ minds are ever-changing because of the technological environment we have created for ourselves? Are educators even willing to learn one more thing on top of everything else that is changing?




  1. I think we do ourselves a disservice when when break folks up into “natives” and “immigrants.” Those who are older are not tech illiterate by default. In the same vein, those who are younger are not tech savvy due to their age. Immigrants/natives rhetoric has caused more ongoing damage in my opinion. It polarizes people and puts everyone into unrealistic corners.

  2. Colleen Marquart

    Exactly! Natives and Immigrants are categorized by accessibility to technology during their life span, not necessarily by age. Because of where we are in this societal movement of technology, most only see the differentiation by age. There are by no means corners, but only a muddier line with exceptions and loops. Anyone can be tech savvy.

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