Since Marc Prensky first introduced “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” in 2001 [1], many scholars have criticized his idea that those born before 1982 and those born after 1982 are inherently different in their ability to use technology. I believe that while Prensky’s concept of digital natives and immigrants does contain flaws, it is nevertheless useful in understanding the general disconnect between older and younger American technology users. The year that Prensky uses to discriminate between immigrants and natives, 1982, is arbitrary. Indeed, denying native status to someone born in 1981 seems illogical. The important part of Prensky’s theory is that in general, young people adapt more quickly to technology than their elders because they are born into a digital culture. More often than their older counterparts, youngsters openly embrace the culture, allowing them to quickly engage in enculturation.

Chris Betcher [2] and CNN’s Oliver Joy [3] raise concerns about Prensky’s digital natives and immigrants. For instance, both suggest that Prensky’s theory only makes sense for people living in the United States. Citizens of less developed countries, where access to technology is limited at best, usually become digital natives together. I agree with this claim, as age does not seem to matter much in these areas. When a technology becomes available in these countries, those born after 1982 and those born before that year tend to receive it uniformly, either clinging to it or rejecting it as a culture. In addition, Betcher warns readers not to buy into the so-called “myth” of immigrants and natives. Believing in Prensky’s theory, Belcher says, can lead to the incorrect assumption that all young people have pre-existing technology knowledge and do not need to be taught about technology in the classroom. This is a good point, and it leaves me to consider the true message that Prensky’s idea sends. Above all, I think one should use Prensky’s logic to explain American cultural phenomena, but his theory should not be used to support pedagogy that in any way limits technological instruction.

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