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Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives Hardcover – August 26, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0465005154 ISBN-10: 0465005152 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465005152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465005154
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.

From Booklist

Boomers may think they’re too cool and forever-young to find themselves on the wrong side of a generation gap, but technology has created a great divide. Digital Natives, the Internet Age generation, are so acclimated to cyberspace they verge on being another species. Palfrey and Gasser, lawyers who specialize in intellectual property and information issues, document the myriad ways downloading, text-messaging, Massively Multiplayer Online Games–playing, YouTube-watching youth are transforming society. Energetic, expert, and forward-looking, the authors serve as envoys between the generations, addressing issues that worry parents and educators, from privacy and safety concerns to the quality of digital information, the psychological and physical effects of information overload and excessive online time, and legal and ethical issues, all the while stressing the need for digital literacy and critical thinking. Palfrey and Gasser believe in the value of the participatory culture the Internet fosters, and in the Internet’s nurturing of creativity, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and global citizenship. As old institutions crumble, there is a need for just this sort of enlightening, commonsensical, and positive guide to digital reality. --Donna Seaman

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Customer Reviews

I found the titles to be complementary and highly recommend those who are interested in the topic read both.
CrimsonGirl
If I was an English Teacher grading Palfrey and Gasser's book, Born Digital, as a student's assignment, I would give it a "C" at best.
Jonathan A. Shive
The book doesn't spend too much time dealing with one specific issue, but tries to cover a broad array of subject matter.
Sadcaddy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sadcaddy on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Palfrey and Urs Gasser's Born Digital is a book that deals with the emergence of a generation of Digital Natives. According to the authors, Digital Natives are the generation born after 1980. They have grown up with a strong internet presence and have never known life without a web presence. The book is primarily targeted at individuals who are parents and teachers of Digital Natives. It provides a broad survey of relevant issues generated by the advent of the web and digital technologies. The authors don't spend too much time on one topic, instead they cover a lot of ground providing insight to many issues that Digital Natives face today. The purpose of the book and indeed its strength revolves around creating awareness rather than on focused argument.

The first four chapters, "Identity," "Dossiers," "Privacy," and "Safety," deal with the relationship between digitized data and individual privacy. Chapter 4 deals with the mounting concern of abundant violent and sexual imagery. Digital natives are constantly reinventing and expanding the offline social sphere by creating profiles on social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook. They tend to take greater risks by providing personal information on these sites as well as with other websites. What happens to personal information over time? Information may be secure but for how long? According to Palfrey and Gasser, the security of information is a mounting concern that can't be answered yet. In "Privacy," Palfrey and Gasser raise important questions concerning privacy. Everyday Digital Natives cede more and more information to various websites without any notion of what may done with the information at a later date. What are the ramifications of so much data being in the hands of other people?
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By William J. Romanos on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There is nothing more important than the safety of our children. There is also nothing more important than the education, creativity and innovation that has been, and can still further be, unleashed and harnessed with suitably crafted policies, and incentives, focused on the issues surrounding their use of digital media and other digital technologies, whether such policies and incentives come from parents, teachers, librarians, governments, lawmakers, or social media or other Internet-focused companies. These are some of the key subjects covered in Born Digital. But to begin to grapple with these issues, as the authors inform us, we must first understand Digital Natives.

The term "Digital Natives" is used, generally, to refer to people born after 1980. The book Born Digital is about the issues surrounding Digital Natives and their intensive use of digital media and other digital technologies. Digital Natives were born into a world that was already pervasively digital. Assuming they were born into an advanced industrial economy - and are not otherwise at the low end of the participation or technological gap, Digital Natives did not transition from an analog world to a digital world as most of us have.

Born Digital is especially focused on the issues surrounding Digital Natives' intensive use of the Internet and online social networks (like Facebook and MySpace) and other digital tools and media they use on a daily basis (such as instant messaging, texting, online chat rooms, video games, YouTube, etc.). We are no longer living in an analog world. The world - especially as experienced from the viewpoint of children and young adults who have access to these technologies - is now - but more importantly has been for them since they were born - digital.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sinologist on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I assigned this book to a course with high expectations. My students and I were dismayed at the repetitiveness of the messages delivered in the book, especially in the first three chapters. This seems to be a problem of careless editing and dual authorship. It results in tedious reading. Much of what is covered in the book is already old news, a problem with any study that deals with a moving target.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jose Maria Serrano Brito on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We are living a period of transition. Using Thomas Kuhn concepts we may say that we are in the middle of a paradigmatic change . As it's normal in a period of a paradigmatic change there are a lot of new questions and sometimes we've the temptation of trying to answer to the new questions with the tools and the concepts of the `old paradigm'. Born Digital is a serious tentative of understand the new and emergent digital paradigm where a part of the new generation is living and simultaneously help his readers (specially parents and educators) to do the right questions about it.
The main thesis Born Digital is that the passage from the analog paradigm to the digital paradigm is deeply transforming the way how digital natives are living. Such deep transformations are affecting their self perception and the way they interact with others and with the reality. In the book they analyze with great detail how the digital revolution is affecting so different aspects of live as education, privacy, creativity, the way as we manage information,...
Facing all this topics the authors have done two previous options that I consider significantly important. First of all, they want to avoid two extreme attitudes: apocalyptic and naïf. Avoiding an apocalyptic attitude they are able two let us know all the possibilities that the digital era is offering to the new generation. Avoiding a naïf approach they are able to stress some serious problems. Two good examples of this problems are the gap between digital natives and those from the same generation that don't have access to technologies as internet, and the problematic of multitasking and its impact on education or daily life. The second option that I would like to refer is what I consider the best intuition of Born Digital.
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