Since 2007, our Good Play research group has been studying the relationship between involvement with new digital media and young people’s ethical sensibilities and their sense of identity, intimacy, and imagination.
The Good Play Project is focused on the ways young people think about, and manage, moral and ethical issues as they interact with new media, including online social networks, blogs, games, and content sharing sites. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning initiative, Good Play involves both research and the development of educational interventions. Our research has been focused on five ethical fault-lines that we believe to be ethically salient in new media environments: identity, credibility, privacy, ownership and authorship, and participation (i.e., conduct such as online speech and treatment of others). In the first phase of our project, we conducted in-depth interviews with young people ages 15-25 about their online activities, choices, dilemmas, and perspectives on these themes. In the second phase, we interviewed “tweens” (youth ages 10-14) as well as parents and teachers of tweens, asking them similar questions related to the moral and ethical dimensions of online life.
Our Good Play research has informed educational interventions aimed at cultivating digital ethics. In collaboration with Henry Jenkins (Project New Media Literacies, USC), we developed a set of curricular materials called Our Space designed to encourage reflection about the ethical dimensions of new digital media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogging, online games). Our research also informed Common Sense Media’s Digital Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum (K-12).