The Digital Divide & Digital Natives


The engagement of teenagers in the digital age who have grown up within social media and other technologies as digital natives is important in bridging the gap of the “haves” and “have-nots”. Education is an important method in teaching teenagers and youth the importance of media literacy. Especially when the teaching methods of the digital immigrants are no longer enough for the new generation of students. However, the problem of information poverty extends to youth and digital natives as well as the digital immigrants and those who do not have access to the technologies or skill.

Boyd states that through interviewing youth and teenagers in a town outside of Boston that included both middle-class students seeking an alternative to the public school that had older methods of teaching, and poorer students who were struggling in traditional schools even with some exposure to technology. Teenagers in lower-income families have fewer connections to new technology, making it difficult for them to afford household computers, smart phones or other platforms that connect them. Therefore, when doing homework or assignments that require the access to information of the Internet or programs that allow them to type out homework, their grades take a hit. These disparities of lower-income households hinder youth from reaching full potential to get them out of their economical situation.

In addition, Boyd found the difference between two crowds through the contrast of users on “Facebook” and “MySpace”, those who used the old social media platform could connect to their favourite bands, glorifying urban culture for many users came from poorer urban communities. Facebook as a highbrow social media site as a rite of passage into the social world of the network, therefore many transitioned from older social media into the new. The digital divide of teenagers and youth to do solely extend to poverty and lack of skill, rather there are social structures within teen culture, flock mentality and racial barriers that prevent from equability in teenagers. Therefore for teenagers the Internet is like a mimesis, reflecting the culture of youth society furthering the digital divide and preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Work Cited:

Lingel, J. (2012). “Keeping it Safe”: Information Poverty, Information Norms and Stigma. Journal of the Society for Information Science and Technology 64(5). Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2001). Do They Really Think Differently?. On the Horizon 9(5). Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Prensky, M. (2001). Do They Really Think Differently?. On the Horizon 9(6). Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf

Selwyn, N. (2004). Reconsidering Political and Popular Understanding of the Digital Divide. New Media and Society 6 (3). Retrieved from

Singer, N. (2015). The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers. Retrieved from




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