The myth of the digital native
On a Sunday morning, after trying and failing a million different ways trying to setup and then hack an old wii.
My tweet was part frustration to the current unsuccessful attempts I had been having setting up my idea. Though I was immediately challenged by my tweet. So I thought I would further elaborate my ideas.
My Computer History (Briefly)
A few years ago, it was entirely feasible to be challenged by the simple act of running a word processing program or computer game. The process of installing, loading, configuring and running the game could be a lengthy process. Quite often I would spend hours trying to install a piece of hardware or the latest game etc.
When I was first introduced to computers (in my primary school years) we had a bank of networked apple computers. I think they were Apple IIe’s and if i remember correctly. They were daisy chain networked. This meant to have the entire class on the computers a program was loaded via disk and then spread one by one to the next computer. I remember having an entire session in there just loading it up.
We had a commodore 68 at home set up out the back on a very old tv somehow barely colour. I remember loading games on this extremely vividly. I still remember the command “LOAD “*” ,8,1 … I remember spending hours waiting for a tape to load or a floppy disk.
Moving forward to the days of the IBM PCs throughout the 90’s – 2000’s whilst the loading of games became quicker and sometimes easier, there was more configuration required. Especially if you wanted to apply the latest hack or pirated software. I know personally i’d spend weekends playing games, breaking a system then spending whole weekends learning how to fix it.
The i generation
Fast forward the last 10-15 years since the introduction on the iPhone, iPad, and iPods or the alternatives of Android and Windows. Plus the proliferation of devices now being in every handbag, pocket, etc. The current generation has never had cause to or need to setup, configure any of the technology that they use.
I call this generation the tap and hope generation or the instant gratification generation.
Why? Whenever a child or anyone for that matter uses a new app, program, etc. Their experience is now of the utmost importance. There is now a great emphasis on UX/UI (User Design Exchange or interaction). No longer can software take more than 7 seconds to load. In fact, most apps are often not used more than 11 times.
With this sort of lack of retention, in terms of apps being abandoned either due to interest or load times, there is evidence that this generation really and truly has less “patience” for waiting for a convinience like an app. We see this elsewhere in society but thats another blog post.
If this generation has not needed to know and show resilience, patience, logic and understanding and only have to tap for their convenience I personally can’t see that we can call them digital natives. Sure more of their lives are spent online then ever before, but they have never really had to setup anything, they plug something in, it works. Need something? There’s an app for that.
With kids being less active today Taking fewer risks, being less patient, less resilient, and instant gratification, not just a thing but something expected. This generation is not the digital native generation, its the instant gratification generation.