The evolution of online platforms and services have given rise to a rapidly changing digital economy that is based on the production and consumption of content, and the exchange of information and data. Youth participate in this economy as they socialize, and communicate online, generating and circulating a range of texts, videos, images, and other content made by them, as well as a massive amount of behavioral data. Either as producers, consumers, or users, youth are contributing to the digital economy, blurring the lines between work, play, and leisure–spheres of human activity that were traditionally viewed as distinct from one another.
Youth who have access to digital tools and networks, digital skills and literacies, and the motivation to participate in online activities, are growing up “working digitally.” As they engage in a range of practices on online platforms and services they participate in economic transactions and develop activities that have economic logics. In order to understand these youth practices and logics, and how they are transforming the agency and development of youth as they grow up in a digital world, our research addresses the following questions: What are the opportunities and challenges that youth confront as they participate in the digital economy? What kind of skills are youth developing as they grow up “working digitally”? What types of online activities are empowering youth and allowing them to enhance their social, economic, and cultural status? What are youths’ motivations to participate in the digital economy?