Guest Contributor

How Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants Engage with Tech in 2021

By | Sarah Pfledderer | Content Marketing Specialist

For younger generations, technology is something that comes naturally. It’s even learned in school. For older generations, technology can be new and difficult to understand. 

These older generations are what’s regarded as “digital immigrants,” meaning people who weren’t born into the digital era and have had to adapt to technological advances. In comparison to “digital natives,” those who did grow up with technology, digital immigrants obviously interact with technology in different ways, including in regard to cybersecurity.

From generation to generation, the understanding of and engagement with technology shifts. In this post, we’ll be highlighting some of the ways each of these digital generations engage with tech today, plus cybersecurity pointers for them to keep in mind.

Digital natives rely more on technology than digital immigrants

It’s no secret that younger generations spend more time on electronic devices. In fact, 40 percent of people age 11-26 (Gen Z) consider public Wi-Fi more important than public bathrooms. Along with this, Gen Z also spends 50 minutes longer on smartphones daily than that of other generations. This chalks up to the fact that, as technological advances continue, digital natives incorporate them into daily life, more so than digital immigrants.

Digital natives are more likely to use social media

Social media is, well, how we socialize in the modern age. From Gen Alpha to Silent Traditionalists, people of all ages are using social media to connect. However, it’s less common for older folks to use social media as opposed to the younger generations. While 74 percent of Gen X ( age 41-56) are on social media sites, 40 percent of the Silent Traditionalists ( age 76-96) choose to avoid these sites altogether. This is a stark difference from the younger generations like Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

Digital immigrants turn to tech to communicate

While digital immigrants aren’t as tech-savvy, that doesn’t mean they disavow tech entirely. In fact, the Silent Traditionalists turn to tech primarily as a means of communication. Whether it’s desktop computers or smartphones, 63 percent use computers to increase communication with family members.

Both digital generations require some knowledge of cybersecurity

Considering all generations — digital natives and digital immigrants — engage with technology, all generations need to practice cyber safety. Pore over this infographic, courtesy of Norton, on how to level up your cybersecurity in 2021 and beyond.


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