Good News?

John Palfrey & Urs Gasser, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, p. 96:

The good news is that the more sophisticated the young person is about online life in general, the less likely he or she seems to be to trust other people online.

Clever quoting, James! It does sound odd out of the context of a 300+page book. Of course, what we meant to say is that we found that some young people who were getting more skeptical about the intent of people they had never met before in person when they met them online in certain circumstances. We also found growing sophistication in terms of whom to trust and how to interpret signals related to reputation online.


You’re certainly right that it’s a good thing for digital natives that they learn when to trust and when not to trust over time. I agree with that, as I agree with much in your patient and thoughtful book.

Still, every time I see S.J. Klein, I end up looking at the world through more idealistic eyes. I think we can also all of us raise a glass to the Internet’s ability to promote (justified) trust among groups of people who haven’t yet met in person.