We’ve spent the last ten years researching the issues that dominate the current news cycle.
What impact does social media have on teen mental health? What are the advantages of growing up in a digital world? What is depressing or even toxic, and who is it for?
We’ve talked to a number of teenagers about these topics. We created a book called “Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing)” based on research with over 3,600 teenagers (due out next year from the MIT Press).
We’ve worked with kids and families in a variety of settings, including schools, community centers, summer camps, and even hospitals.
One key takeaway: we need to look about teen technology experiences via a much broader lens.
We need to concentrate on providing the finest HX (human experience) for teenagers. Focusing on HX allows us to talk about, interact with, and create technology in ways that are in line with our human requirements. HX encourages us to think beyond the drawbacks of certain social media apps and consider their role in a teen’s life as a whole.
It’s tempting to blame social media for all of a teen’s problems. Teens, on the other hand, require us to begin by asking and truly listening to their concerns, anxieties, and joys.
What are their present weaknesses and challenges? What are the genuine sources of happiness, contentment, and connection? What aspects of technology enhance or detract from happiness?
HX is all about what people see and how they interpret it. Workout videos motivate and support healthy behaviors for one adolescent. These identical videos reinforce a painful feeling that they’re not fit enough, skinny enough, or “useful” enough for another youngster.