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Digital Natives

Digital Natives

Digital Natives focuses on the key legal, social, and political implications of a generation "born digital" - those who grow up immersed in digital technologies, for whom a life fully integrated with digital devices is the norm. By understanding young people’s interactions with digital media such as internet, cell phones and video games, we may address the issues their practices raise, learn how to harness the opportunities their digital fluency presents, and shape our regulatory and educational frameworks in a way that advances the public interest.

The Digital Natives project is an interdisciplinary academic collaboration of the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and the Berkman Center, researching young people’s digital practices, and the intersection of these behaviors with education and the law. We are lawyers, ethnographers, sociologists, media academics, educators and human-computer interaction psychologists. We aim to nurture and protect the creative, educational, and revolutionary possibilities of youth interactions in digital space, while at the same time addressing the serious concerns that come with living a life online.

Through qualitative research, legal analysis, and collaboration with educators, we investigate how the culture of digital natives – a culture of connectivity, of public display, of sharing, of feedback, of constant availability and of global citizenship – impacts and will continue to impact our world. In particular, we focus on the influence upon institutions of education and government, while also extending inquiry to impacts on business, relationships, and mental health. Our research informs our mission to provide recommendations to educators and legislators for reforms that make the most of the exciting possibilities young people’s digital fluency presents, supports youth in navigating the difficult issues, and ultimately engages technology in ways that strengthen our social institutions.

This work is supported in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft.

Our Work 40

Oct 1, 2010

Re:Born Digital, in Video

2010 summer interns take up "Born Digital"

This year's Berkman Center summer interns tackled a big special project on top of their primary research responsibilities, creating a set of videos -- one for each chapter of John…

May 7, 2009

Social media guidelines for law students

Berkman Fellow Gene Koo, who is working with our friends at CALI to build eLangdell : The Legal Ed Commons (a platform for collaboratively creating legal teaching materials), is…

May 1, 2009

Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age

This paper describes research findings that show young people operate in the digital realm overwhelmingly ignorant of the rights, and to a lesser degree the restrictions,…

Apr 30, 2009

Learning in a Participatory Culture

Our friends down the street at MIT's Project New Media Literacies (NML) are holding a conference in Cambridge this Saturday, May 2...The day's workshops will delve into the future…

Apr 21, 2009

On Remix and Born Digital

book reviews in Science Magazine

The Books et al. section in the current issue of Science features two Berkman Center-related pieces of interest to the wider community. Yochai Benkler considers Lawrence Lessig's…

Mar 6, 2009

Debating CDA 230

An exchange between John Palfrey and Adam Thierer concerning tweaking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was published today in Ars Technica...

Mar 2, 2009

Digital Natives: Born Digital in the News

The Digital Natives Project has some exciting news about Born Digital...

Feb 12, 2009

Born Digital in the classroom

PBS Teachers & Classroom 2.0 webinar with John Palfrey

On February 26, John Palfrey will be participating in a virtual conversation with educators about digital natives. We hope you can join in...

Feb 11, 2009

Making (digital) airwaves

This week has been thick with Berkman-related audio: conversations with Judith Donath, John Palfrey, David Hornik, and Esra'a Al Shafei all made their way onto the Net...

Feb 9, 2009

Privacy and truth online

John Palfrey was recently interviewed by James Goodale on two questions: "Does anyone care about privacy anymore?" and "What to do about lies on the internet?"

Feb 4, 2009

Welcome, Urs Gasser!

As the spring semester begins, we are delighted to officially welcome Professor of Law at the University of St. Gallen Dr. Urs Gasser into his new role as Berkman’s Executive…

Jan 28, 2009

Data Privacy Day

Today, the US, Canada, and a host of European countries are celebrating the second annual Data Privacy Day. In honor of the Day, we are re-presenting Digital Natives project…

Nov 26, 2008

Digital Natives: civic engagement + US presidential election via camphone

For the Thanksgiving holiday in the US this week, many of us are traveling to visit friends and family or are preparing to receive guests. The Digital Natives blog, too, hosted…

Nov 13, 2008

Digital Natives: Staying safe

This week the Digital Natives team took a look at online privacy and safety and the related topic of digital aggressors.

Nov 6, 2008

Digital Natives: experiencing information

The Digital Natives blog's theme-of-the-week is information overload! a timely topic in light of the finding that, in 2008, the Internet overtook newspapers as a source of…

Nov 3, 2008

US presidential campaign & election '08

We've assembled a sampling of recent Internet and politics-related activities and writings from the Berkman community...

Oct 31, 2008

Digital Natives: learning and literacy

This week, the Digital Natives gang explored digital learning and literacy, and taught us a thing or two in the process...

Oct 22, 2008

Piracy on the Choppy Copyright (C)s

The Digital Natives project has been doing a lot of thinking about digital piracy and creativity lately...

Oct 15, 2008

Digital Natives: Teens talk politics

The Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series may be taking a breather, but with the US election only three weeks away and the final presidential debate tonight, the…

Oct 8, 2008

Digital Natives: Cyberbullying

In this week's installment of the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series we hear from Lisa Epstein, a 19-year-old UMASS student and former victim of cyberbullying.

Sep 24, 2008

Digital Natives: flash mob fun

This week's -- exuberant -- installment in the Reporters in the Field series takes us to a silent dance party in Boston...

Sep 17, 2008

Digital Natives: music fans and online community

The Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series continues with " a conversation with blogger Qin Zhi Lau"...

Sep 10, 2008

Digital Natives: Activism in the Middle East

Continuing its exploration of digital activism from last week, the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series turns its microphone over to Esra’a Al Shafei of Bahrain, the 21…

Sep 8, 2008

Digital Media and Learning Competition

As the fall semester gets underway, our Digital Natives project colleagues share some of the details of HASTAC's Digital Media and Learning Competition. This year's theme is…

Sep 3, 2008

Digital Natives: organizing activism online

This week, the Reporters in the Field series takes a look at Obama Works, an independent grassroots organization that helps Obama supporters in neighborhoods across the country...

Sep 1, 2008

Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives

Based on original research and advancing new theories, leading internet and technology experts John Palfrey and Urs Gasser offer a sociological portrait of the 'Born Digital'…

Aug 27, 2008

Digital Natives: a digital community of learners

This week, with new book Born Digital landing on bookshelves, the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series continues its look at collaborative studying in a "web 2.0" world...

Aug 25, 2008

Born Digital arrives on bookshelves

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that Faculty Co-Director John Palfrey and Faculty Fellow Urs Gasser's "Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital…

Aug 22, 2008

Trolling for Trouble

Daniel LaMagna, an intern with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, offers his take on Internet trolls over on the Digital Natives blog.

Aug 20, 2008

Digital Natives: Sharing Knowledge

This week the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field Series takes a look at collaborative studying in a "web 2.0" world.

Aug 13, 2008

Digital Natives: life cycle of a digital dossier

The Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series changes tactics this week with a narrated slide show from intern Kanupriya Tewari. The piece explores the accumulation of data --…

Aug 6, 2008

Digital Natives: encounter with the RIAA (finale)

Two weeks ago, the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series brought you the first two parts of "The Ballad of Zack McCune" -- an exploration of digital natives and illegal…

Jul 30, 2008

Digital Natives: Alumni Magazines for the Web Set

It's week three of the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series. This week Digital Natives summer interns Nikki Leon and John Randall give us "Is Harvard Magazine Coping in…

Jul 24, 2008

Digital Natives: encounter with the RIAA

Launched last Wednesday, the Digital Natives Reporters in the Field series gets fully underway this week with the first two parts of a brand-new piece created by Digital Natives…

Jul 16, 2008

Digital Natives team kicks off Reporters in the Field series

This afternoon, the Digital Natives project rolled out the first video in its Reporters in the Field series, which will investigate the project's issues and themes through one of…

Jun 20, 2008

Recollection Recall?

Over on the Digital Natives blog, Nikki Leon wonders whether or not Digital Natives need to start tying strings to their fingers in lieu of hitting the search engines.

Jun 13, 2008

2008 Presidential E-lection

This week, the Digital Natives and Internet and Democracy projects both dove into the 2008 campaign, offering their thoughts on the role of the Internet in the current U.S…

Mar 31, 2008

Q+ A with Tomorrow's Luncheon Guest, Allison Fine

Allison Fine will join us tomorrow as part of our Tuesday Luncheon Series, and as a primer to her talk, Berkman intern Yvette Wohn sat down with Allison for a Q+ A, where they…

Feb 28, 2008

The Berkman Center Announces Formation of Internet Safety Task Force to Identify and Develop Online Safety Tools

More than 20 Organizations including AOL, AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, MySpace, NCMEC, Symantec, Verizon and Yahoo! Join Task Force.

Berkman Center To Lead New Task Force Comprised of Prominent Internet Businesses, Non-Profits, Academics and Technology Companies.

Feb 21, 2008

Digital Natives

Teenage Girls as the Cyberpioneers of the Internet

Today's New York Times features a story based…

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