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Customer Review

36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., September 14, 2008
This review is from: Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (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. They were born digital. We had better learn to understand this age group (or cohort) to deal with it effectively and to craft policies and incentives that maintain and foster the good aspects of these technologies (and their interaction with such technologies), while minimizing the risks Digital Natives are exposed to - or at least not arrest the positive aspects of their use and involvement with ill-suited policies based on fear and ill-informed policy choices.

The organization of Born Digital is excellent. It is organized tightly into coherent chapters dealing with a single overarching category or theme. Within each chapter, the authors elucidate some of the more pressing issues in each category or theme, and then provide specific guidance and suggestions to parents, teachers, lawmakers, librarians, etc.

Being an attorney who was deeply interested during and immediately after law school in what was called at the time "Internet law" and intellectual property issues implicated by activities on the Internet, only to lose interest after the dot-com bubble burst, this book has reignited my interest in studying the technical, social, and legal aspects of the Internet.

Born Digital has also spurred me to dive deeper and study in more depth social media and online social networks, as well as intellectual property law as applied to the increasingly digitized information environment or ecosphere. To this end, besides an excellent book covering Digital Natives and the issues they and we face in our roles as parents, teachers, lawmakers, librarians, and also simply as members of society, I also commend the authors for the excellent notes and bibliography. I look forward to reading some of the key works that the authors of Born Digital found most helpful in their research and analysis and exploring these issues further.

I have recommended Born Digital to my friends in the technology sphere as well as my friends who are parents and who have children who are at the age where they are beginning to use the Internet and other digital technologies (including, their use of cell phones, their playing of video games, etc.), intensively. I also highly recommend it to teachers, educators, counselors, librarians, law enforcement officers, lawmakers, policy-makers, or anyone interested these issues.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2008 5:21:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2008 5:23:15 PM PST
An idea:

I would be interested to know what people think - and potentially the authors of this book - about children, young adults and others putting on their online social network profiles in a conspicuous place a sort of "Terms of Service" similar to a "shrink wrap" license stating that if there person becomes a "friend" that they will keep the information private. You could even have an iconographic system similar to the Creative Commons Licenses, but instead of a license it is essentially an "agreement." I understand for persons under 18 years of age, there is the capacity to contract issue, but for them it may serve, among other functions, as a normative-type agreement (or rather a norm of understanding) and serve to reinforce expectations among the person's friends. For adults, it may, in addition to a basic norm/expectation, also potentially serve as an agreement or an understanding regarding privacy and potentially provide some measure of legal protection. One could similarly do this when one is requesting friends, by putting the privacy (or other language) in the message that you can send along with the friend request.

Some other items (or categories for an iconographic-type "Terms of Service" of the profile) could be such categories as "(i) don't post anything regarding alcohol or drugs," "(ii) do not post pictures of me," etc.

It would like a "Privacy Policy" for a social profile.

If someone (an adult) wanted the profile information, etc. to be under a contractual obligation to keep the information private and confidential, and an affirmative act is needed under contract law, then this can be done via language in an email and response at the time someone "Friends" the other person.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2008 2:27:09 PM PST
Serene says:
That is an excellent idea because I see so many people who use *disclaimers* on their blog but if they could sign something like a privacy policy which would have a return email indicating that they would not disclose the information shared then this may be the start of some people feeling more free to feel open in sharing? But, isn't this policy (in a sense) used in some of these message boards online dealing on a variety of issues. Example - the terms of service/conduct but the it is more specific which I see you had indicated but how detailed should it go? Would this be honored as a Federal Law, State Law or an International Law? I am definitely in agreement with you. Thank you for beginning this discussion out loud!!

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 11:55:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 11:57:54 PM PDT
I read this book a bit at a time and may have missed something, but I don't think they're referring to everyone born after 1980. The authors themselves are only in their 40's and it would seem somewhat preposterous for people in their 40's to be writing a book to help you understand a cohort of people who could already be mature adults and have learned first hand some of the lessons they describe in their book.

Anyway, this was one of the better books I've read on the subject in recent years.
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