Digital Native: Definition, History, and Impact on Business


The era of technological progress that occurs today does not appear instantly, but through a fairly long process. There is a lot of research and development that needs to be done in order to create digital technology that can be utilized and enjoyed by everyone, and one of the issues that is currently of concern is digital native.

So, what is the true meaning of digital native? What is the history and development of digital native? And, what impact will this have on the business world?

Relax, because on this occasion we will explain briefly and in detail to you with the article about digital native below.

What is Digital Native

Digital native refers to a generation that is experiencing development and growth in the midst of digital technology or in the current era of technology that flows rapidly.

In this regard, digital natives are a group of generations who have emerged in the digital world and are growing up with sophisticated technology. For that, don’t be surprised if digital natives are very comfortable and fluent in using technology.

The era of digital technology that is happening right now is known as the new media era, the information age and the era of computerization, in which the digitalization process has dominated almost all people’s lives in the world.

Dependence on technology has grown more significantly. Technology has managed to enter into people’s lives and daily activities, be it for personal use or for business purposes.

Generally, the millennial generation is known as the first digital native, then followed by the next generation. However, this term does not actually refer to a particular generation.

This term is more likely to be applied to those who were born and grew up and use technology, such as the internet, computers, laptops, and smartphones. For this reason, not everyone who is born at this time can automatically be called a digital native.

Digital native is a word used for those who were born and grew up in the digital world, where they can interact regularly using technology from an early age. This generation is very familiar with the terminology in the digital world.

But, that doesn’t mean they can understand computer programming or the network process of sending data intuitively. They just tend to be easier to understand technology, because they often interact and react to it.

History and Evolution of Digital Native

Digital native itself is actually not a new term. This term was first introduced by Marc Prensky in 2001 through his article entitled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”. The article criticizes the failure of education applied in the United States in understanding modern students.

According to him, children need a learning environment that is richer in media. Besides being able to attract children’s attention, technology-based media can change the way students process information technology.

Although it does not explain the meaning in detail, the term refers to children born after the 1980s. But unexpectedly, the use of this term is becoming increasingly popular and accepted by the public.

However, with the passage of time and the development of studies related to digital native, then this term began to receive a lot of criticism from various parties, even from Prensky himself. Digital native given to certain generations actually causes a gap.

Potential Conflicts of the Digital Native

The developments that occur in digital technology that are able to give birth to a digital native generation are not necessarily accepted by all circles of society. Because, not all people can and want to adopt digital technology, both financially and intellectually.

This condition then triggers a conflict in the digital native generation, where a great sense of aggressiveness and curiosity cannot be accompanied by the limitations and abilities of the seniors.

  • Work Environment

We must all admit that not all working generations can be technology literate, especially those who are getting older and entering their old age. Those who live without being able to access technology early on are often referred to as digital immigrants.

They were previously used to living without technology or all manuals. Sometimes this causes disputes with digital natives, both in terms of point of view or in the mindset in addressing certain problems.

A simple example in everyday life, work that has been supported by computer technology will tend to be easier to do and able to produce output . It is the same with various industrial machines that have implemented a computerized basis.

However, not all digital immigrants can keep up, potentially creating conflict between supervisors and managers and a much easier generation of the workforce.

  • Family Environment

We must all admit that today’s children are smarter and more proficient in absorbing information technology than their parents. For most parents, social media such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, and YouTube can have a negative impact on children. It’s the same with video games.

In fact, all of these things do not always have a negative impact. Although there are still negative impacts, the presence of social media also has a positive impact. One of them is easier in disseminating information.

However, parents are already worried about the bad impact of digital technology. These concerns are more likely based on an outdated mindset. In addition, the limitations of parents in absorbing information, following and also keeping pace with technological developments also contribute.

  • Educational Environment

Whether we realize it or not, the education sector is the biggest problem faced in the digital world. Today, technology in the field of education is increasingly sophisticated.

There are many applications that can be used as online learning media. Unfortunately, not all of the teachers in charge of imparting knowledge are able to adopt and adapt to digital technology.

Ideally, existing digital devices are able to support various learning processes that are more effective and interactive. But the fact is not always the case. Many teachers are each stuttering in using technology, so they prefer to apply old and less interesting ways and methods of teaching and learning. So, it is very difficult for students to understand the learning material presented.

As digital immigrants, teachers often experience difficulties in transferring knowledge to digital natives, especially those related to the use of digital technology. Technology can sometimes frustrate teachers and find it difficult to work with them, making it difficult for them to adapt.

But whatever the obstacles, technology remains a challenge for teachers. Therefore, it is very important for teachers to be able to understand and use digital technology tools in implementing interesting learning methods for their students.

Impact of Digital Native Business

The main brain of digital native is formed by the existence of the digital world. This can be proven from various studies related to neurobiology which explain that physically, the native digital brain is different from those who have not struggled with technology since the beginning.

The uniqueness brought by this digital native has a considerable impact on the business world and the world of marketing.

Digital natives often promote themselves in the hiring process, which the generations before them did not. The closeness they have in the digital world has even made social media the main platform or media for marketing activities. A strong and attractive social media strategy can help them build brand recognition.

The digital native’s ability to absorb information effectively also encourages the birth of new ideas in business. This is certainly very profitable, because the potential to be able to create blue oceans is getting bigger.


This is our complete and short explanation about digital native. As a company or businessman, it is appropriate for us to be able to adapt to the mindset and actions taken by this digital native generation so that the business can continue to be relevant and continue to survive, even develop.

One of the efforts to adapt to a native digital mindset is to utilize application technology or software that can help manage business and financial management.