Explain the concept of digital “visitors” and “residents” drawing upon your reading and your own online experiences to date in support of the points that you make.
There has always been the perception that older people are not tech savvy, as the saying
goes, people believe you ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Parents contradict themselves by asking their children to put child-friendly restrictions onto the computer at home, because they’re unsure of how to do it
themselves. Children attend school and work on the computer – then come home and use the family iPad. Schooling and higher education all require an
above average knowledge of online technology. We are raising the new generation of
‘digital residents’, adding to the existing party. People that, in effect, ‘live’ online.
‘Digital visitors’, on the other hand, like Grandma, are sometimes left in the shadows. Yes, they may own a laptop, however it may only be used once a fortnight. Keuhn (2012)
describes the terms broadly with his view that “the young people who have grown up in
the immersive digital environment are the natives. Those who came of age before digital
immersion are the immigrants.” For some, the internet is a scary and frightening place,
with stories of fraud in the media each day. It can be argued as a fear of the unknown.
Some older people are seen as stubborn -they grew up without the internet so why should they start to use it now.
But how about when the roles are reversed? A digital ‘resident’ can refer to anyone, it
doesn’t have to necessarily be a young person. White (2008) makes an interesting point on this, arguing “the resident has a presence online which they are constantly developing
while the Visitor logs on, performs a specific task and then logs off.” Regardless of
age/gender, plenty of digital residents are active online every day – they may have a career which requires an online profile or needs access to online banking.
Digital visitors and residents vary significantly on the spectrum – there is no box to place
When compared to the older generation of digital residents, from my own personal
experience it seems social media is more prominent among younger people. The majority
of older people simply do not have the urge to use Snapchat. Contrasting to this, the sheer
amount of Facebook accounts existing among people of all ages is staggering – the lines
between what we think digital ‘residents’ and ‘visitors’ are have become blurred. There is now an urge to acquire social knowledge and be kept up to date, which is the main factor
that attracts us online to these sites, creating our identity as ‘digital residents’, or on the
other hand, ‘digital visitors’.
400 words (excluding references)
- Kuehn,. “No More “Digital Natives” And “Digital Immigrants””. (2012): 129. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
White,. “Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ But ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’”. (2008): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.