A research unit of Harvard Project Zero, Stanford Center on Adolescence and the Quality of life Research Center at Clarement Graduate University has been studying how individuals strive to do “good work”—work that is excellent in quality, ethical, and engaging to the worker as part of the Good Work Project.  This unit is  now applying its  “good work” lens to the digital media, a new domain of activity in which youth in particular are becoming leading participants.  While a high proportion of young people’s activities in cyberspace are social—constituting more “play” than “work”— the researchers believe that it is critically important to explore the ethical character of their conduct in this evolving sphere. 

“Far from being passive consumers (or, as some fear, victims) of media, young people are actively contributing to and defining the new media landscape through sites such as MySpace, Flickr,YouTube, Second Life as well as blogs and multi-player games. While we believe that young people are invoking and nurturing important skills through such creations, are they also developing an ethical sense regarding their online activities?  We wish to understand how young people conceptualize their participation in virtual worlds and the choices they make as they interact with one another.  What beliefs, values, and goals do they bring to their activities online?  What ethical considerations guide their conduct? Are they even aware of the potential for ethical or unethical behavior — at least until the time whey they themselves are the victim?  What kinds of identities do they construct and what are the ethical implications?  For example, when young people take on new virtual identities, do they behave civilly or do they use these identities as an occasion for bullying?  When they create using materials online, do they appropriately credit sources or do they lift without regard for authorship?  How do they understand authorship and ownership in a sphere in which most information and material is “up for grabs,” (i.e., easily downloaded or acquired via copy and paste)?
In short, how do young people define “good” cyber-citizenship and what kinds of things do they do to achieve it? 
We are studying young people (ages 15-25) who regularly participate in online games, social networking sites, and other online communities. Our methods include in-depth interviews, the posing of hypothetical ethical dilemmas, and observations of youth participating in online communities. Through these methods, we seek to uncover
strategies for “good play” and, ultimately, to develop tools to encourage it.