As I am born before most of dates that Generation specialists give to 1st digital natives, I have no right to claim to be such. But as I am kind of curious, I want to make sure to understand right a surprise I had about Digital natives and Generation Y. Digital natives, may I ask for your help?

Let me explain why before.

Digital natives only!

Even though, I have been quite a geek since 20 years regarding the internet and its impacts on our lives. Even though, I started using social networks in 2004 (I was co-founder of a music label, and to promote our artist, our company was one of the first user on Myspace…). Even though, I have been using for myself LinkedIn since 2004. Even though, I learned with the ancestors of tutorials to use html coding to create and improve a website in 2005… Even though, a few years later, I played a role in the team of the first experiment in France to include citizens in the design of the law on Digital republic… Event though, I explained to my daughter’s school teacher what she could learn if using Khan Academy in 2013… Even though, even though… I might be a digital addict, or simply an open minded person (?), but I will never be not a digital native.

Age can be cruel!

Age and digital

Digital natives time and myths

But what I consider more cruel is all the studies concerning digital natives and generation Y, reminding us that whatever changes humanity faces, there is and will always be a gap between generations.

RobotThis gap reveals both the uncomfort of aging and the changes of the world around. We all have read a lot about the Digital natives, the millenials, the Generation Y (which is endangered by coming Generation Z, co-called the Zs – for Zombies, I read once…). Each time I read such studies, I have an ambivalent feeling: « OK, it is statistics, it gives trends and that is interesting as such. » versus « It is so lame: no one can put such a diversity in one box with 7 attributes simply because they are born between year 1 and year 10… ».

Digital natives help needed

One of the paradox that I would like to highlight is the one that we encountered during a study we did on working changes. We launched a research on the use of personal device (laptop, smartphone…) at work (some might recognise the Byod for Bring Your Own Device).

We collected results from 800 people from all parts of France, all types of companies, and all ages. Then we drilled down on Digital natives, given that we had read that they wanted other working conditions, they wanted changes in the working environment that companies could provide them, and that the Digital natives considered their personal tools more performant than those that their employer could provide them.

digital handshake

Our surprise was to discover that no! Digital natives were the last to want to use their personal devices at work! In the sample of our study (representative for France), Digital natives were expecting more than any other age class to have an employer who provides the devices for work. In other words: digital natives were the more reluctant to Byod in their company.

Thus, my questions, for Digital natives, are:

  • What could explain that you want your employer to provide you with a working tool?
  • Is this a French specificity (what is your point of view as a Digital native in another country)?

Thanks for your feedback (digital natives or others welcome)!