September 17, 2008

ARTICLES: Harvard professor sees answers to nagging Web-youth issues

Harvard professor sees answers to nagging Web-youth issues

John Palfrey, one of Harvard's leading thinkers on the Internet, has recently finished a study on kids raised in the digital age. He now has a few tips to share about Web porn, online piracy, and Sen. John McCain's lack of tech know-how.

Palfrey, a Harvard law professor and director of the school's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, visited CNET's headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the findings of a recent study of a group he calls "digital natives." These are people who don't know life before cell phones, computers, and the Internet.

Palfrey, who wrote a book about the study called Born Digital, was fairly upbeat about the Web's affects on young people. That's not going to surprise too many people as Palfrey is a recognized Internet booster. But after completing 100 "in-depth interviews" with young people, ages 13 to 22, Palfrey sees some possible solutions to problems confronting Web-connected youth.

Turn young pirates into content owners

Kids steal music, according to Palfrey's study. "It's plain that virtually every young person we talked to gets music exactly the same way, which is they are downloading from an Internet site. The vast majority are downloading it illegally from a file-sharing site. A very small number are downloading and paying for it."

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