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Dr. Sandra Cortesi is a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a Senior Research and Teaching Associate at the IKMZ at the University of Zurich, and an Adjunct Researcher in Communication at the Department of Communication and Culture at BI Norwegian Business School.

At Youth and Media she collaborates closely with talented young people (ages 12-18) and engages with researchers in the field who share an interest in exploring innovative ways to understand, evaluate, and shape current and future social challenges emerging in the digital world.

Sandra Cortesi’s current work focuses on (interconnected) areas of youth’s life, including information quality and the news ecosystem; well-being; risks to safety and privacy; the future of work, digital skills, and lifelong learning; emerging technologies (e.g., AI, AR, VR); and spaces for youth participation, civic engagement, and innovation. All publications are available at

Sandra Cortesi’s research, teaching, and outreach is often application-oriented and translational, combining different methods of social science research. Sandra is committed to engage in research with a real-world impact — particularly by translating findings from research for policy-making in the private and public sector — and to engage in participatory, multisectoral, interdisciplinary, and global research efforts.

Sandra Cortesi’s work has been featured in numerous popular media outlets including (see here) ABC, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, CNBC, CNN, Education Week, El Espectador, El Pais, Fast Company, Financial Times, Forbes, Fox News, Gawker, Horizonte, Huffington Post, La Nacion, LA Times, La Semana, Mashable, Migros-Magazin, Newsweek, NBC, NPR, NZZ am Sonntag, O Globo, Orlando Sentinel, Persönlich, Slate, SRF, Swissinfo, Tages-Anzeiger, TIME, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, 20 Minutes and many others. Her work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, the Mercator Foundation, the Research Council of Norway, and the Wikimedia Foundation, among others.

Sandra Cortesi works closely with the Global Network of Internet & Society, the Digital Asia Hub, and many international organizations such as Unicef, Unesco, the ITU, the Council of Europe, and the OECD. She also advises governments around the world and serves on different boards. For a full list, see


Projects & Tools

Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers

A collaborative initiative focused on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet.

Research Sprints

The BKC Research Sprints are a series of educational programs that bring together emerging scholars from around the world to discuss and innovate on specific themes related to our…

Digital Asia Hub

The Digital Asia Hub is an independent, non-profit Internet and society research think tank based in Hong Kong.

Digital Citizenship+ Resource Platform

The DCRP is an evolving collection of tools that you can use to learn more about safety, privacy, information quality, and creative expression.

Youth and Media

Youth and Media (YaM) encompasses an array of research, advocacy, and development initiatives around youth (age 12-18) and digital technology.


AI: Global Governance and Inclusion

In a world challenged by growing domestic and international inequalities, policymakers face hard problems and difficult choices when dealing with AI systems.

AI: Policy Research Clinic with the City of Helsinki

During the summer of 2021, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society collaborated with the City of Helsinki’s Education Division and their subcontractor, Saidot, to explore…

Born This Way Foundation Partnership

The Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center at Harvard to explore the best…


Digital Ethics in Times of Crisis: COVID-19 & Access to Education and Learning Spaces

A global research sprint explores digital transformation at a pivotal moment in time

Digital Identity

Exploring the ethical and human rights considerations of digital identity.


Digital Problem-Solving Initiative

The Digital Problem-Solving Initiative (DPSI) at Harvard University is an innovative and collaborative program that brings together a diverse group of learners (students, faculty,…


Dotplot is a visualization tool that allows you to tell a story about data. Our primary use case is mapping a diverse community of people in a playful and interactive way.

Harmful Speech Online

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is in the third year of a research, policy analysis, and network building effort devoted to the study of harmful speech, in close…

International Digital Self-Determination Network

BKC is a founding partner in an international network that is defining the concept of digital self-determination and working to ensure that people everywhere are legally, socially…


Privacy Initiatives

The Berkman Klein Center has long been home to a number of cross-disciplinary initiatives that investigate privacy and privacy-relevant questions in the digitally networked…

Student Privacy Initiative

The Student Privacy Initiative-- part of the Center's growing suite of Privacy Initiatives-- aims to surface, identify, and evaluate central privacy issues and opportunities that…

The Ethics of Digitalization

Led by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), the Berkman Klein Center, and the Digital Asia Hub, and in collaboration with the Global Network of…

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series

The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors), is presented by the Born This Way Foundation & the Berkman Center for Internet and…

Youth-Oriented Online Hate Speech / Viral Peace

Leveraging its national and global networks, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is forming a first-of-its-kind thematic network of experts,…

Advising Governments

Through this project we assist - in the public-interest - people working in governments across the globe in dealing with pressing challenges related to innovative digital…

Co-Designing Generative Futures

As generative AI technologies have advanced, so too has their potential to transform how people worldwide create, think, work, learn, problem solve, and govern. Given these far…


Metaverse: Centering Inclusion

Bringing together experts from various sectors, conducing research to inform decision-making, and contributing to the development of a metaverse with thoughtful values and…


Policy Practice

The Policy Practice is a public interest-oriented program that helps governmental, nonprofit, and private sector organizations implement best practices and turn principles into…


Dec 28, 2022

15 Ways to Engage Youth Within Your Company and Why You Should Do It

Sandra Cortesi explores how young people can be included in decision-making processes that impact their futures

Dec 28, 2022

Transforming State-of-the-Art Offline Approaches for the Digital World

A Methods Guide for Youth and Well-being Focus Groups

No two people have the same definition of what “well-being” means to them. While we often use “mental health” and “well-being” interchangeably, well-being can encompass much more…

Oct 28, 2021

Youth and Extended Reality

An Initial Exploration of Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Realities

A new piece from the Youth and Media team surveys potential uses and harms of XR for learning, health, and inclusion...

May 14, 2021

Youth Participation in a Digital World

Designing and Implementing Spaces, Programs, and Methodologies

Designing and Implementing Spaces, Programs, and Methodologies

Jun 25, 2020

Youth and the Digital Economy

Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation

What can we all learn by taking a closer look at young people in today’s digital economy?

Mar 20, 2020

Youth and Digital Citizenship+ (Plus)

Understanding Skills for a Digital World

How can schools, educators, and parents and caregivers embrace the opportunities to support young people in becoming digital citizens?

Oct 29, 2019

Youth and Cyberbullying

Another Look

Examining the changing landscape of bullying while acknowledging the convergence between the online and offline world.

May 31, 2019

Youth and Artificial Intelligence

Where We Stand

How can we empower young people to meaningfully interact with AI-based technologies to promote and bolster learning, creative expression, and well-being, while also addressing key…

May 9, 2018

Youth, Digital Transformation, and Forms of Inclusion in Latin America


A reflection on the challenges and opportunities that arise from digital practices by new generations. (en español)

Jun 6, 2017

Children’s Rights and Digital Technologies:

Introduction to the Discourse and Some Meta-Observations

An introduction to the relatively nascent, but quickly evolving children’s digital rights discourse

Jul 30, 2015

Student Privacy: The Next Frontier

Emerging & Future Privacy Issues in K-12 Learning Environments

Building off several prior working meetings which mapped and considered the implications of the new and rapidly evolving ecosystem of networked technology being used with…

Jun 6, 2015

Youth Online and News: A Phenomenological View on Diversity

Journal Article

Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U. (2015). Youth online and news: A phenomenological view on diversity. International Journal of Communication.…

Apr 7, 2015

Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media

An ebook presenting diverse views, experiences, and insights on key challenges and opportunities

“Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media,” is a first-of-its kind collection of essays that offers reflections from diverse perspectives on youth…

Feb 17, 2015

Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives

Youth and Media is pleased to announce the publication of "Youth and Online News: Reflections and Perspectives," a series of short essays written by friends and colleagues that…

Jan 15, 2014

Youth Perspectives on Tech in Schools: From Mobile Devices to Restrictions and Monitoring

This research brief, prepared by the Berkman Center’s Youth and Media project for the co-organized Berkman Center and Consortium for School Networking working meeting on student…

Oct 18, 2013

The Challenges of Defining 'News Literacy'

This brief seeks to stimulate a discussion among the grantees about different approaches to defining, framing, and understanding core concepts such as 'news' and 'news literacy',…

Aug 22, 2013

Teens and Mobile Apps Privacy

58% of American teens have downloaded an app to a cell phone or tablet. More than half of teen apps users have avoided an app due to concerns about sharing their personal…

Aug 14, 2013

Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice

Many teens ages 12-17 report that they usually figure out how to manage content sharing and privacy settings on their own. Focus group interviews with teens suggest that for their…

May 21, 2013

Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past, but they are also taking a variety of technical and non-technical steps to…

Mar 13, 2013

Teens and Technology 2013

Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say…

Nov 20, 2012

Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy

Parents have a range of concerns about how their children’s online activities might affect their privacy and many have taken steps to monitor their children and encourage online…

Sep 17, 2012

Bullying in a Networked Era: A Literature Review

This research update presents an aggregation and summary of recent academic literature on youth bullying. The purpose of this document is to “translate” scholarly research for a…

Feb 23, 2012

Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality

Building upon a process- and context-oriented information quality framework, this paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and…


Mar 30, 2023

Digital Identity During Times of Crisis

What We Learned During the Fall 2022 Research Sprint

BKC hosted a 10-week Research Sprint from October to December 2022 investigating Digital Identity in Times of Crisis, in collaboration with partners metaLAB at Harvard, the…

Nov 14, 2022

BKC Comment to the FTC on Transparency and Commercial Surveillance

On behalf of BKC and its projects and associates, the Cyberlaw Clinic submitted a comment regarding the FTC's ANPR related to commercial surveillance and data privacy.

Jun 25, 2021

What we learned about the future of education from COVID-19

What is learning and where and how does it happen? The pandemic let us consider these questions in new ways.

What is learning and where and how does it happen? The pandemic let us consider these questions in new ways.

Dec 17, 2020

BKC Policy Practice on AI Hosts Expert Review of Colombia’s AI Ethical Framework with Focus on Youth

Colombia President Iván Duque Márquez launches AI framework; BKC’s Urs Gasser delivers keynote

Colombia President Iván Duque Márquez launches AI framework; BKC’s Urs Gasser delivers keynote

Sep 15, 2020

Draft Policy Guidance on AI for Children

BKC community members inform UNICEF report

BKC community members inform UNICEF report

Jun 11, 2019

Artificial Intelligence in Society

A broad overview of the technical, economic, political, and social landscapes of AI, including its positive and negative impacts

Consumer Reports
Aug 28, 2018

Warning Kids About Digital Privacy Doesn't Work. Here's What Does.

Sandra Cortesi, director of the Youth and Media project and fellow at BKC, is quoted in this Consumer Reports article on tips for talking to children about digital privacy.

Aug 1, 2018

Sharing Learning Tools for Youth Digital Life

18 of our open access educational resources for digital literacy are now being translated into over 40 languages

May 31, 2018

Challenges and Opportunities of Co-designing Playlists with Youth

The main goal of the Digital Citizenship Learning Playlist project was to co-design four digital citizenship playlists in collaboration with young people from youth-serving…

Feb 22, 2018

Why Inclusion Matters for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

The development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies hold tremendous promise for much of the world, including the Global South.

Apr 7, 2015

Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media

New ebook presents diverse views, experiences, and insights on key challenges and opportunities

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Youth and Media are excited to announce the release of the new ebook “Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital…

Apr 9, 2013

First International Conference on Internet Science Featuring Berkman Faculty and Fellows

The First International Conference on Internet Science will take place in Brussels on April 10-11, 2013 with contributions of Berkman Center Faculty and Fellows.

Mar 13, 2013

Teens and Technology 2013

New Survey Findings from Pew Research Center & Berkman Center

37% of all teens ages 12-17 have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users – they mostly go online using their phone

Nov 20, 2012

Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy

New Survey Findings from Pew Research Center and Berkman Center

81% of parents of online teens say they are concerned about how much information advertisers can learn about their child’s online behavior; 46% are “very” concerned


Center for Democracy and Technology

Report – Sharing the Health: Guidance for Schools When Procuring Mental Health Technologies

The Center for Democracy and Technology, with advice from Sandra Cortesi, Madeline McGee, Leah Plunkett, and Elizabeth Sylvan released a new report to help schools procure…

Jun 27, 2023
The Huffington Post

How To Ask People Not To Share Photos Of Your Kids On Social Media

BKC Youth and Media Director Sandra Cortesi commented on the practice of sharing photos of children on social media.

Dec 22, 2022

Amazon Alexa Wants To Put Your Child To Bed With Generative AI Storytelling

BKC Fellow Sandra Cortesi discusses generative AI storytelling. “Sandra Cortesi, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, says…

Dec 7, 2022
BKC Medium Collection

Extended Reality

The Potential of Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Experiences for Remote Teaching and Learning

Opportunities and limitations of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies in the educational space

Nov 12, 2020
Aargauer Zeitung

Teenagers and Social Media: The Fake Account is More Real

Identity and the dichotomy between real and fake on Instagram

Apr 7, 2019

How Youth Are Reinventing Instagram and Why Having Multiple Accounts Is Trending

Our Youth & Media team looked at how teens are using social media to figure out who they are.

Nov 2, 2018

Reflexiones Conectados al Sur, Costa Rica 2018: Sandra Cortesi

Sandra Cortesi, Director of Youth and Media, shares her reflections on Conectados al Sur: Costa Rica.

Sandra Cortesi, Director of Youth and Media, shares her reflections on Conectados al Sur: Costa Rica.

Jan 15, 2018


Jun 28, 2022 @ 11:00 AM

Empowering People in Their Digital Lives: A Conference on Digital Self-Determination

[VIDEO] Hosted by the Directorate of International Law of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Federal Office of Communications and the…

Mar 23, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Fake News, Concrete Responses

At the Nexus of Law, Technology, and Social Narratives

Join us for a special Harvard Law School-Berkman Klein Fake News Lunch Panel moderated by Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School

Dec 8, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

State of Student Privacy

with Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi, Dalia Topelson Ritvo, Paulina Haduong, and Leah Plunkett

The Berkman Center’s Student Privacy Initiative will be taking stock of our student privacy work to date and exploring future directions. At this luncheon, the Berkman team will…

Jan 30, 2013 @ 6:00 PM

Is School Enough?

A screening & conversation about youth and informal learning with digital media.

IS SCHOOL ENOUGH? While policy-makers and educational experts try to determine the best “system” for delivering a world-class education to tens of millions of students across the…