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
individuals in.

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.

5 thoughts on “TOPIC 1

  1. Hi Alice, I really like the way you have introduced the topic question with examples that are relatable to most people. I think this gives the reader a very good understanding into the key terms. I think that this also demonstrates your own knowledge on the topic in order to actually put the theories into your own words. In your next blog post, I think it would be nice to use a visual stimulus to illustrate your point further. This may also help to engage your reader to continue reading to the end.
    Where would you place yourself on the continuum and do you think taking this module UOSM2033 will change your position on White’s continuum? I think it would be interesting to see if your personal use of technology fits into the generalisations that you have described in your blog post above.


    1. Hi Hannah,

      Thank you for the feedback – I will be sure to take that on board.

      I would class my self as a digital resident in terms of social media – I don’t think that being active on Facebook each day would necessarily define a digital resident – venturing out into different contextual settings online however would reflect, to me, more of a digital resident. In the short time that I have been a part of this module though, I can already see myself building online skills and bulking up knowledge of creating profiles online, whilst expanding existing knowledge into other contexts – hopefully a sign of something good to come.

      Thanks again for your feedback,


  2. A nicely written blog Alice, I found the point you made in your conclusion quite thought provoking. I also have found that older generations tend not use Snapchat, yet the majority of people my parents’ age do use facebook. Perhaps the older generation or ‘digital immigrants’ as Kuehn may call them, are more selective with their use of the internet.

    I also like comment regarding the urge we have nowadays to acquire social knowledge. This is definitely an issue that has grown over the last few years as social media, especially Twitter.

    You mention in your introduction, about how parents ‘contradict themselves’ by putting child friendly restrictions on their computers. Where is the contradiction and furthermore, my computer at home was never restricted, were you talking from a personal experience or research?

    Overall, I think your blog was well written and you made some great points in your concluding paragraph, I can’t wait to read your next post.


    1. Hi Zac,

      Thank you for your feedback! The thought of older people using snapchat just seems rather alien to me – although who’s to say this will be the case in the near future.

      Twitter, funnily enough, was the starting point of my thought process when making this point. With the ‘trending’ topics that are now common on Facebook too, it appears that social knowledge is continuously being spread.

      The point I made on child-friendly computer restrictions came about after I attended a ‘safe-guarding’ course a few weeks ago. The lecturer described how more and more parents wish to protect their children online – but just do not know how to do this. Therefore, turning perhaps to older children in the house to place restrictions on the family computer, this becomes a way for the parents to protect their child – to a certain extent – yet they aren’t sure WHAT the restrictions are. I would describe this reference in my blog post as personal experience as I found there to be no real research done on this topic academically.

      Liked by 1 person

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