Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media: A Synthesis from the GoodPlay Project


James, Carrie (with Katie Davis, Andrea Flores, John Francis, Lyndsay Pettingill, Margaret Rundle and Howard Gardner). 2009. Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media: A Synthesis from the GoodPlay Project. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning October 2009. Cambridge: MIT Press.

The new digital media are a frontier that is rich with opportunities and risks, particularly for young people. Through digital technologies, young people are participating in a range of activities, including social networking, blogging, vlogging, gaming, instant messaging, downloading music and other content, uploading and sharing their own creations, and collaborating with others in various ways.

In late 2006, our research team at Harvard Project Zero launched a three-year project funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The goals of the GoodPlay Project are twofold—(1) to investigate the ethical contours of the new digital media and (2) to create interventions to promote ethical thinking and, ideally, conduct. In the first year of the project, we conducted background research to determine the state of knowledge about digital ethics and youth and to prepare ourselves for our empirical study. This report describes our thinking in advance of beginning our empirical work. We expect to revisit the framework and arguments that are presented here after our empirical study is complete.

Carrie James
Publication Date
Wednesday, October 21, 2009