In this section, you’ll find:
Young people born after 1987 are often called ‘digital natives’. They have never known a non-Internet world and make little distinction between online and offline. There is one world, with online and offline aspects. Some ‘offline’ relationships translate to ‘online’ contexts, some do not – and vice versa. This can be confusing.
When we understand how young people interact, we can help them address risk as well as foster aspiration and achievement. We need to think about how digital tools, communities and relationships impact young people’s lives, mental health and wellbeing.
The main drawback to the digital natives idea is the presumption that all young people are fully skilled and equipped to navigate the online world. In reality, many young people need significant help in making safe and effective use of the digital world, or in overcoming barriers to use. This includes young people with low general literacy levels and some young people with disabilities. Practitioners need to become familiar with ways of supporting online skills and knowledge development as part of efforts to promote young people’s mental wellbeing. These issues are discussed further in the Digital Citizenship page, in particular iRights and #notwithoutme.
“In my fieldwork, I often found that teens must fend for themselves to make sense of how technologies work and how information spreads. It is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed.”
It’s Complicated – Danah Boyd, Researcher and Author, Microsoft, 2014
We must bridge the digital and non-digital, we are not yet at a point where digital is universal. However, there is a risk of reverse inequality that if we fail to recognise people who want to use digital to engage.