Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives

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Overview

"The first generation of "Digital Natives" - children who were barn into and raised in the digital world - are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture, and even the structure of our family life will be forever transformed." "Based on extensive original research, including interviews with Digital Natives around the world, Born Digital explores a broad range of issues, from the highly philosophical to the purely practical: What does identity mean for young people who have dozens of online profiles and avatars? Should we worry about privacy issues - or is privacy even a relevant concern for Digital Natives? How does the concept of safety translate into an increasingly virtual world? Are online games addictive, and how do we need to worry about violent video games? What is the Internet's impact on creativity and learning? What lies ahead - socially, professionally, and psychologically - for this generation?" A smart, practical guide to a brave new world and its complex inhabitants, Born Digital will be essential reading for parents, teachers, and the myriad of confused adults who want to understand the digital present - and shape the digital future.
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Editorial Reviews

Amanda Henry
Born Digital doesn't pretend to have all the answers; the authors are knowledgeable but never pedantic, especially in areas where research is pending. While Palfrey and Gasser can leave you longing for grandiloquent generalizations, or at least a buzzword or two ("semiotic democracy" lacks sexiness), their studious, empathic approach is both valid and reassuring, and their overarching point—let's think about these things now, rather than trying to fix them later—well taken. Mixed with the broad consciousness-raising is specific advice for digitally challenged parents and teachers, on subjects from the judicious use of protective technology to the value of team-based, interactive (read: Wikipedia-esque) learning.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this critical but optimistic overview, academics Palfrey (of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society) and Gasser (of the Swiss U. of St. Gallen) share their concern about the legal and social ramifications of the Internet with regard to the generation of "Digital Natives" born after 1980. In a wide-ranging examination of "the future opportunities and challenges associated with the Internet as a social space," Palfrey and Gasser find most young people fail to recognize the vulnerability of their information-that internet posts are never really private-and suggest tactful parental and school oversight. They find a more serious problem in the failure of the U.S. to regulate data mining by search engines, which even now have the potential to create cradle-to-grave dossiers on individuals, including online medical and financial records; they compare the U.S. system with Europe's policies, which have put in place much more effective data protection. Parents and educators will benefit from Palfrey and Gasser's discussion of issues like safety, content control and illegal file sharing; with proper attention from them, the authors see a bright future for the Internet that should foster "global citizens" with a "spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and caring for society at large."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Palfrey (law & executive director, Berkmam Ctr. for Internet & Society, Harvard Law Sch.) and Gasser (law & director, Research Ctr. for Information Law, Univ. of Saint Gallen) offer a concerned evaluation of the challenges facing the generation known as digital natives who have grown up immersed in the use of and dependence upon information technology. This book is significant in its prompting of readers to consider that these young men and women are charting new territory and facing challenges that are distinctly unique to their era. This book is a wake-up call and a how-to guide for being a parent or teacher in an era that defies easy understanding. The authors propose circuitous partnerships of digital natives with parents, teachers, mentors, trusted social utilities, and law enforcement that serve as a means to produce a shift in understanding of digital-era challenges, e.g., the potential daily threats it poses to our privacy, safety, identity, and innovation. Ultimately, the book is an accessible survey of many of these as-yet-unsolved Internet dilemmas of our time and is well executed given the immense task of synthesizing the vast corpus of social science concerns relating to the Internet. Recommended especially for public libraries.
—Jim Hahn

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465005154
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 8/25/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.48 (w) x 6.42 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author


John Palfrey is Professor of Law and a Vice Dean at Harvard Law School. A faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, he is a regular commentator on network news programs, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, NPR, and BBC. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Urs Gasser is the Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He has edited six books and has written over sixty articles in books, law reviews, and professional journals. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

1 Identities 17

2 Dossiers 39

3 Privacy 53

4 Safety 83

5 Creators 111

6 Pirates 131

7 Quality 155

8 Overload 185

9 Aggressors 209

10 Innovators 223

11 Learners 237

12 Activists 255

13 Synthesis 273

Acknowledgments 291

Notes 295

Glossary 345

Selected Bibliography 353

Index 365

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