In higher education, we talk about digital natives all the time. Children, born in the 90's or later, are them, and their understanding of computers is beyond our grasp--their understanding is instinctual. Starting my own blog has certainly helped me keep up with technology to a point, but even I must read books or be tutored on certain tasks. I usually can learn them, but I don't have the ability to understand what to do on my own. (Uploading pictures and creating hyper links were just a few areas where I needed help.)
Digital natives are different. They didn't grow up with records, typewriters, and Ataris. They grew up with one machine that could do all of these things combined and more. Using a mouse, i-pod, or now texting on a cell phone is as instintive to them as popping in our a-track cassette was to us. (Okay, I'm dating myself a little--I did grow up mostly with 45 records and cassette tapes.)
Since the day my son was old enough to sit up on his own, he already had a fascination with the computer. I could see that little glimmer in his eyes, and he'd always try to touch the keyboard or mouse when we weren't looking. Now that he's old enough to understand what "gentle" means, I let him play on the computer a little bit every now and then. If he pounds on the keyboard, then he knows his time is about to end.
Almost immediately, I couldn't believe how my little one interacted with it. Unlike me, who grew up with seeing it as a somewhat foreign object, Lil' Lewie reaches for the keyboard and mouse like he reaches for his spoon and fork. It comes naturally, and he knows what to do naturally. He also reaches for the screen, thinking that if he pushes buttons or icons on the screen, they will do what he wants them to do. Certainly ATM Machines and now gadgets like the Apple i-pad, i-phone, Kindle, etc. make this possible, but how does a little two year old who has never touched a single one of these gadgets understand this concept?
His instinctive knowledge just blows me away. There is no doubt that within a few short years, he will probably surpass me in the ease of which he uses technology. (When I first started using the computer in the 90's it took me weeks to feel comfortable with controlling the mouse.)