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Youth and the Digital Economy

Youth and the Digital Economy

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

Published

As people engage in a digital platform ecosystem where the boundaries blur between leisure, play, and work, what key challenges and opportunities do they face? Who can develop skills through their online activities and benefit from earning different kinds of capital, and who cannot? What are people’s motivations to participate in economic activities online, and how do they vary across gender, race, and socioeconomic background? What can we all learn by taking a closer look at young people in today’s digital economy?

Youth and the Digital Economy: Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation — a new report and the result of a collaboration between Youth and Media and the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society — highlights both the tremendous opportunities for young people to participate as economic actors as well as the amplification of structural inequalities and the complex risks involved.

The report presents an overview of key issues and three in-depth essays on:

  1. Youth and Capital-Enhancing Activities
  2. Youth and Aspirational Labor 
  3. Youth and Virtual Collaboration

If you’re interested in exploring one or more of the emerging research themes addressed in the report and/or would like to work together to create educational activities around young people and the digital economy — you can view existing educational resources on the digital economy here, on the Youth and Media team’s Digital Citizenship+ (Plus) Resource Platform —  please feel free to reach out to Youth and Media at youthandmedia@cyber.harvard.edu.

“Youth and the Digital Economy: Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation” is one of the Youth and Media team’s “spotlights”  — briefing documents that showcase the ways youth engage with the digital landscape, and what opportunities and challenges emerge from those engagements. Additional spotlights include “Youth and Digital Citizenship+ (Plus): Understanding Skills for a Digital World,” “Youth and Artificial Intelligence: Where We Stand,” and “Youth and Cyberbullying: Another Look.”

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Youth and Media

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