Millennials and Generation Y seem to be the topic of much discussion in today’s society. In particular, they are strongly associated with modern technological advances, which is when the term “digital native” comes into play. Shah and Abraham, in their report entitled “Digital Natives with a Cause?”, define and identify the various characteristics and perceptions of these digital natives. Providing working definitions, a digital native is thought to be a “youth significantly affected by the rise of Internet technologies” or part of an “emerging global population growing up with digital technologies central to everyday functioning” (7). There is both much criticism and much applause over digital natives, as mentioned in the report. Many consider digital natives to be self-centered and to be “consumers rather than citizens.” In other words, there is concern that this generation of people is using the Internet more for gratification, without much awareness or sense the political/social environment (17). However, others believe that the digital tools have promoted group mobilization/participation, information dissemination, and political engagement. This article on Elite Daily, “Rock The Vote: 5 Reasons For This Generation To Vote in the 2014 Midterms”, speaks against the various criticisms aforementioned and defends the power of this generation.
In particular the article points out how savvy Gen-Y is because “millenials have been equipped with the information, tools and technology needed to solve problems quickly and creatively.” The article even uses the term “digital native” to describe how 90% of Millenials are constantly online and on their phones, and thus to things differently. Due to the pertinent and permeating presence of digital natives in today’s technological society and the mastery of social media, they possess considerable influence in consumer habits, social behaviors, and political results.
The political aspect brought up in Shah and Abraham’s article reminded me of the popular “Rock The Vote” campaign that pops up every election season, encouraging younger generations to vote and make their voices heard. Celebrities are used to endorse the campaign and reach out to this sector of the population. Social media and the Internet becomes certainly becomes relevant, as it plays a big role in the digital native and the ultimate influence they can possibly have over matters like politics.