Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 409–419 | Cite as

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Towards a Model of Digital Fluency
  • Qian (Emily) Wang
  • Michael D. Myers
  • David Sundaram
State of the Art


The article looks at the differences between “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” Digital natives are the new generation of young people born into the digital age, while “digital immigrants” are those who learnt to use computers at some stage during their adult life. Whereas digital natives are assumed to be inherently technology-savvy, digital immigrants are usually assumed to have some difficulty with information technology.

The paper suggests that there is a continuum rather than a rigid dichotomy between digital natives and digital immigrants, and this continuum is best conceptualized as digital fluency. Digital fluency is the ability to reformulate knowledge and produce information to express oneself creatively and appropriately in a digital environment. The authors propose a tentative conceptual model of digital fluency that outlines factors that have a direct and indirect impact on digital fluency namely, demographic characteristics, organizational factors, psychological factors, social influence, opportunity, behavioral intention and actual use of digital technologies.


Digital natives Digital immigrants Digital fluency Net generation 



We would like to thank the editor, associate editor and reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments on this article. This article is a significantly revised version of a paper submitted to the European Conference on Information Systems 2012 and published in its proceedings (Wang et al. 2012).

Supplementary material

12599_2013_296_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (38 kb)
(PDF 38 kB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qian (Emily) Wang
    • 1
  • Michael D. Myers
    • 1
  • David Sundaram
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information Systems and Operations ManagementUniversity of Auckland Business SchoolAucklandNew Zealand

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