South Korea and Japan topped the list in a global study looking for the countries with the highest percentage of young people who are ‘digital natives,’ or those who grew up using the internet. The East Asian neighbours earned more than 99 percent, with just a point of difference. Meanwhile, China recorded the largest ‘digital natives’ in terms of numbers with 75 million.
The study was conducted by the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU). As part of the union’s study called Measuring the Information Society 2013, information on the internet use of today’s young people aged 15-24 was collected. ‘Digital natives’ refer to people of the aforementioned age group, as they were born at the time when personal computers were first introduced. In addition, it also means they have gathered 5 years or more of online experience.
South Korea topped the list of ‘Digital natives as a percentage of youth population’ with 99.6 percent. Japan stands right next to its neighbour with 99.5 percent. Both nations are also the only Asian nations in the top ten of the category. Except for the United States (95.6%) at ninth place and the New Zealand (94.8%) at tenth place, the rest in the category are European nations. Japan is also included on the list of nations with the ‘Largest number of digital natives.’ Placing fifth in the category, Japan has 12 million internet users from aged 15 to 24. The U.S. stands next to China, the number one in the category, but with only 41 million ‘digital natives.’
The ‘Digital natives as a percentage of [the country’s] total population’ were also listed in the study. According to Associate Professor Michael Best, this information is the most important among the categories, which also include ‘Largest number of digital natives,’ because “a country’s future will be defined by today’s young people and by technology.” Professor Best was part of the team who conducted the study. “Countries with a high proportion of young people who are already online are positioned to define and lead the digital age of tomorrow,” Best said.
With 13.9 percent, Iceland topped the countries with the highest number of ‘digital natives’ in relation to total population. South Korea is also in the list, placing third with 13.5 percent. ASEAN member Malaysia placed fourth with 13.4 percent. Malaysia’s entry to the list has been attributed to its strong investment in information technology for education. Meanwhile, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone, are at the bottom of the list mainly because of conflict or decrease internet availability.