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Abstract

Today’s youth inhabit new digital spaces that seem foreign to many adults. These spaces offer unprecedented opportunities for interpersonal connection, but community can break down when people are emboldened by anonymity through pathways that are fast and highly public. Interested in how teens and adults view these ethically charged issues, our three partner organizations – Common Sense Media, the GoodPlay Project, and Global Kids – convened a three-week long series of online conversations with more than 150 parents, teachers, and teens. Our analysis of these conversations revealed that adults exhibited stronger and more consistent patterns of moral and ethical thinking than youth, who tended to show greater concern for the personal consequences of their online actions. These findings suggest that adults have an important role to play in helping teens to become responsible digital citizens.

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