The first generation of “Digital Natives”—children who were born into and raised in the digital world—are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture, and even the shape of our family life will be forever transformed. But who are these Digital Natives? And what is the world they’re creating going to look like?

In Born Digital, leading Internet and technology experts John Palfrey and Urs Gasser offer a sociological portrait of these young people, who can seem, even to those merely a generation older, both extraordinarily sophisticated and strangely narrow. Exploring a broad range of issues, from the highly philosophical to the purely practical, Born Digital will be essential reading for parents, teachers, and the myriad of confused adults who want to understand the digital present—and shape the digital future.


John Palfrey is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover. He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world. Recent books include BIBLIOTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015) and INTEROP: The Promise of and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012). He served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He is a director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Knight Foundation, President of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America, and director of the Data + Society Research Institute.