A person who grew up in a world with computers, mobile phones, and other digital devices.
Some might accuse Byron of tilting at windmills — but one under-reported section of the report [Safer Children in a Digital World] does try to get to grips with one of the web's great taboos: regulation. It's a subject that usually elicits screams of angst, rather than whoops of excitement. Digital immigrants tend to throw their hands up in the air and proclaim the internet a sort of 21st-century Wild West, while digital natives blast the hubris of those trying to exert influence over the internet's uncontrollable force.
—Bobbie Johnson, "Parental advisory," The Guardian, March 31, 2008
This was how I ended up signing up for a free account from Twitter, a group-messaging application that despite all the media attention it has received still hasn't broken into the mainstream or become a to-die-for tool for the youngest early adopters. While some tech-savvy adherents use Twitter to 'micro-blog' from cellphones and BlackBerrys, as well as from computers, other digital natives like my teenage daughters and their friends have remained oblivious to its charms.
—Michelle Slatalla, "If You Can't Let Go, Twitter," The New York Times, February 14, 2008
Marc Prensky has built a company, games2train.com, out of that contrast. He founded that company and serves as its chief executive.
Almost half the working population of the United States has not known a world without video games, Prensky said. These are people who grew up with what once was considered "gee-whiz" technology such as personal computers, wireless phones and pagers. Prensky called this younger group the "digital natives."
"Digital immigrants," who saw all of this technology come to be, make up the remainder of the workforce, he said. Prensky admitted he, as a Baby Boomer, is in this group.
—Mark Watson, "Games people play put to work," The Commercial Appeal, January 27, 2001
Digital nativism is the belief that those who have grown up in a world full of digital devices have a major advantage over the rest of us, not only in using those devices but also in the increased cognitive skills that using those devices allegedly confers. For an excellent critique of this idea, see Digital Nativism. This was written by Jamie McKenzie, who introduced me to this term.