Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media

About Digital Youth

"Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures" is a three-year collaborative project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carried out by researchers at the University of Southern California and University of California, Berkeley, the digital youth project explores how kids use digital media in their everyday lives. Read more

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Photo Credits: Ritchie Ly and Geert Allegaert.

Teen Sociality in Networked Publics

Publics provide youth a space to engage in cultural identity development. By engaging in public life, youth learn to interpret the cultural signals that surround them and incorporate these cultural elements into their life. For a diverse array of reasons, contemporary youth have limited access to the types of publics with which most adults grew up. As a substitute for these inaccessible publics, network publics like MySpace are emerging to provide contemporary American youth with a necessary site for peer engagement.

While networked publics provide space for various critical forms of sociality, the architecture of the sites that support networked publics is fundamentally different than the physical architecture that we take for granted in unmediated life. Persistence, searchability, replicability, and invisible audiences are all properties that today's youth must face in their public expressions.

The goal of this project is to explore why youth are deeply invested in networked publics and how these networked publics alter their participation in culture more broadly.