Kirschner & Bruyckere (2017) discuss the modern day myth of the digital native that has formed societies understanding of such individual as well as presenting a reality of such and whether or not their digital actions are effective, efficient or hold value regarding their level of digital literacy.

As a result of these presumptions that have been made and the culture surrounding so-called digital natives;  Kirschner & Bruyckere (2017) present the real reality for those born in a technologically aware era. This focus on what it means to be a digital native draws on the idea that these individuals are overwhelmingly gifted in the digital world; however, they are in fact limited in an understanding of the software they use and can neither effectively utilise technology to its fullest potential. Kirschner & Bruyckere suggest there is no such digital native and remove the assumption that experience to the digital from birth results in a worldview and understanding that transcends those born prior to 1984. They determine instead that such individuals are not effectively and efficiently digitally literate but are rather continuously building their skills through a process of trial and error as a result of their current knowledge.

Two boys playing with/using an Ipad
Image – ABC 2018, Children and Technology


The way one interacts with others offline and online builds their social framework and understanding. Rivoltella (2008) suggests that the need held by society of a collective dimension is ever increasingly growing and being fulfilled as a result of the digital realm. Aligning such understandings with Kirschner & Bruyckere discussion of the myth of such digital natives alludes to the idea that presenting digital natives as a fact takes away from the capacity of all individuals to contribute and participate in the collective social and digital dimension. Thus evidently taking away from their ability to be considered as digitally literate in the digital and social realm.

In addition the focus on what it means to be digitally literate draws on the idea that an individual’s capacity to be digitally literate sees them being able to communicate in the digital sphere in a way that holds meaning. Palfrey and Grasser (2010) discuss how as a result of such technological awareness “natives” seem to increasingly engage online in an informal manner as aspects of their lives are mediated by digital technologies. As a result, the question is posed as to whether such individuals are digitally literate in a way that is critical and provides value to their interactions.



Kirschner, P. A. & De Bruyckere, P. (2017): “The myths of the digital native and the multitasker”, Teaching and Teacher Education, v67, 135-142.

Palfrey, J & Grasser U 2008 Born Digital: Understanding the first generation of digital native, Basic Books, New York

Rivoltella, P 2008 Digital Literacy: Tools and Methodologies for Information Society, IGI Global Hershey, Pennsylvania

Image – Jean Twenge, 2018, Protecting kids from overuse is Apple’s best interest, viewed 27 August 2018, <>

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