Youth and the Digital Economy: Exploring Youth Practices, Motivations, Skills, Pathways, and Value Creation

Lombana Bermudez, Andres; Cortesi, Sandra; Fieseler, Christian; Gasser, Urs; Hasse, Alexa; Newlands, Gemma; Wu, Sarah

Young people’s lives are increasingly shaped by digital technologies. While significant digital divides and participation gaps remain, an increasing number of young people around the globe participate in and contribute to the digitally networked environment in many forms, ranging from creative expression on social media to interactive gaming and collaboration. This spotlight explores young people’s digital engagement through the lens of the digital economy and seeks to gain an initial understanding of youth’s practices, motivations, skills, pathways, and modes of value creation as they interact with a digital environment in which the boundaries between the commercial and personal spheres, between work and play, are often blurring. The spotlight summarizes key insights from a trans-Atlantic exploratory research collaboration between Youth and Media at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society at BI Norwegian Business School. In addition to sketching building blocks toward a framework, the paper brings together three essays that explore in different application contexts both the opportunities and challenges that surface when young people engage with and participate in the digital economy.