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New report on youth and digital media

Information literacy logoThe Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University recently released results from their research that

“seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities” (from the Harvard Law School’s Youth and Media blog).

This report looks not only at patterns of information-seeking behavior, but also the influence of context and demographic factors. It offers four key findings for consideration:

  1. Search shapes the quality of information that youth experience online.
  2. Youth use cues and heuristics to evaluate quality, especially visual and interactive elements.
  3. Content creation and dissemination foster digital fluencies that can feed back into search and evaluation behaviors.
  4. Information skills acquired through personal and social activities can benefit learning in the academic context.

youth and digital media info-graphicAnd it summarizes their findings in a clear and understandable infographic, shown at right (click image to view full size).

It is no small surprise that context and other social cues strongly influence the information-seeking behavior of youth. Humans are innately social creatures, and need connections to others to survive and thrive.

You can read a one-page summary, an executive summary, the full report, or listen to a podcast version courtesy of the aforementioned blog.

What do you think of this report? What did it get right/wrong? Tell us about it!

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