Youth and Media

From Internet Law Program 2011
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Since the early days of the internet, there has been an intense concern about and celebration of how young people were using its content and resources. From horror stories of cyberbullying to the profusion of exciting youth-created content, the mutually constitutive relationship of youth and the digital realm has been a hotly debated subject.

The Berkman Center addresses many of the questions and concerns surrounding youth and media through its Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative. The initiative explores policy issues that fall within the following three clusters:

  • Risky Behaviors and Online Safety addresses potential risks of internet use for young people such as predators, pornography, and internet addiction.
  • Privacy, Publicity and Reputation engages issues surrounding how youth share and protect personal information online, and how that information can shape their social world.
  • Youth Created Content and Information Quality explores innovative youth-production and the challenge of finding trustworthy information online.

Within each subject, the project strives to map and analyze the key policy aspects that merit the most attention, summarize the current state of knowledge and research, and identify key policy considerations. The Youth and Media Lab, a youth-driven R&D lab for media literacy and digital empowerment, researches some of the core challenges and opportunities that youth encounter online, and creates curricula geared towards educating young people on some of the most pressing issues surrounding internet usage.

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.