Taylor & Francis
Existing research on the characteristics of digital natives, traditionally defined as those born after 1980, has shown subtle differences in how they approach technology compared with other cohorts. However, much of the existing research has focused on a limited set of conventional technologies, mostly related to learning. In addition, prior research has shown differences within this cohort in how they respond to autonomous technology (e.g., trust, reliance; Pak, Rovira, McLaughlin, & Baldwin, 2016Pak, R., Rovira, E., McLaughlin, A., & Baldwin, N.(2016). Does the domain of technology impact user trust? Investigating trust in automation across different consumer-oriented domains in young adults, military, and older adults. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 18, 199–220. 10.1080/1463922x.2016.1175523[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). The purpose of this short report, representing the first wave of data collection in a larger study examining technology experience and attitude change, is to directly address 2 shortcomings in the literature on digital natives which tends to emphasize: (a) civilian students; and (b) conventional, often learning technologies. We addressed these 2 issues by recruiting 2 subgroups of digital natives (students and military cadets) and assessing attitudes and experience with a wide range of technology spanning from conventional (e.g., mobile) to emerging (e.g., robotics). The results showed that that both groups were surprisingly unfamiliar with emerging consumer technologies. Additionally, contrary to expectations, cadets were significantly, albeit only slightly, less experienced with mobile technologies, VR/augmented reality, social media, and entertainment technology as compared to civilian undergraduates.
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