There is an assumption that digital natives are naturally predisposed to understanding how to use computers and technology, just because we grew up with the Internet, texting, and emailing. I'm 21 years old, I am a so-called digital native, but my experience has been that the concept of digital literacy is far more meaningful than the concept of digital native - and it has little to do with age or any broad generational differences.
Questions-and-answers have played a central role in digital bonding since the early days of Usenet. Teenagers have consistently co-opted quizzes and surveys and personality tests to talk about themselves with those around them. They've hosted guest books and posted bulletins to create spaces for questions and answers. But when teens started adopting Formspring.me this winter, a darker side of this practice emerged. While teens have always asked each other crass and mean-spirited questions, this has become so pervasive on Formspring so as to define what participation there means. More startlingly, teens are answering self-humiliating questions and posting their answers to a publicly visible page that is commonly associated with their real name. Why? What's going on?
Since the announcement of Apple's iPad, reactions to the device have been extremely polarized. While some people have been highly critical of the device, others have reacted positively. Still others have reacted first negatively then positively or, more disorientingly, both at the same time. A striking similarity of many of the most-cited negative reviews of the iPad is that they appeared before the reviewers ever had a chance to interact with the device. For both positive and negative reviewers, this approach made it much easier to praise or critique the iPad as an idea, rather than as a machine, and, in doing so, to imbue this idea with magical powers that are quite different from the physical reality of the device.