Making Digital
Healthier and
More Beautiful
for Young People

Digital Delta is a free


Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining information from a large number of participants. We choose to use crowdsourcing to make our research more accessible, just, and equitable for the communities we work with and for.

research tool that identifies fundamental contributors to adolescent wellbeing in digital spaces.

The tool was created based on the realization that digital landscapes weren't designed with youth wellbeing in mind. To identify the most promising areas for improvement, we surveyed more than 800 people working to improve youth wellbeing from Headstream’s community of entrepreneurs, innovators, youth, investors, researchers, policy makers, educators and builders.

From this research, we identified 13 of the

root factors

Root factors are the underlying actions, feelings, situations and other experiences that contribute positively and negatively to a topic

with the highest potential to impact young people between the ages of 13 and 24. These 13

catalytic factors

Catalytic Factors are the root factors that have the highest leverage on the system at large. These are the factors that we believe will have the greatest influence on the current state of youth wellbeing.

grouped into three core areas:

Positive Relationships

Strong relationships among parents, peers, and social groups provide young people withsupport through tough times and space to grow into their identity and thrive.

Accessible Resources

Providing young people with trusted information and resources is crucial for their development as they encounter new challenges while growing up.

Balanced Content

Digital places and experiences have very few boundaries; it’s easy to interact with digital content all the time. Balanced content recognizes the need for increased awareness of why, when, how, what to post, and to consume.

Prioritizing these three areas when building digital experiences provides the strongest opportunity to support adolescent wellbeing.

Digital Delta is the optimum tool for innovators, investors, and institutions interested in a research-based approach to making digital places healthier and more beautiful.

Explore the Data

Learn about our process and explore Digital Delta’s interactive data map

large overview of map

Why this Matters

Digital Delta takes the guesswork out of transforming the digital ecosystem. This tool empowers market participants to focus their collective energy on a common set of goals to guide individual contributions towards building a more positive and beautiful digital world.

How Do I Get Involved?

Learn more about what you can do, the community and youth leaders who shaped our thinking

Learn More
answers on how the root factors relate to each other
of the data came from young people
community members participated
of participants identify as female
of participants are LGBTQIIA+ individuals
of the data came from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color

Understanding Digital Delta

What is Digital Delta?

Digital Delta is a free, crowdsourced research tool that identifies the most fundamental contributors to adolescent wellbeing in digital spaces.

Who built Digital Delta?

Digital Delta was built by Headstream, an innovation program focused on building positive digital places for young people, especially for underserved or higher risk communities including BIPOC, and LGBTQIIA+ teens, and teen girls.

How did we collect Digital Delta data?

We used a public crowdsourcing tool to determine key factors that impact adolescent's digital wellbeing. By surveying an inclusive sample of adolescents and adults – 54% from BIPOC communities — we learned where to focus our efforts in order to point towards the transformations they want to experience through digital technology.

Why do we need Digital Delta?

We are hopeful about the many innovators and institutions that are interested in advancing youth wellbeing. But the term "youth wellbeing" can have many different meanings, which creates challenges in the larger pursuit of this critical goal. We designed Digital Delta to establish a common, research-based understanding of the greatest factors that both harm and contribute to youth wellbeing. We believe this information can help problem-solvers, innovators, non-profits, investors, educators, and others interested in improving the lives of young people better understand how they can contribute to solutions.

How can I utilize Digital Delta?

We hope these findings will give you a better understanding of the factors that impact youth wellbeing most profoundly. Our goal is to inspire you to look critically at the opportunities you have to advance the health and safety of youth — whether that's through designing, investing, driving community collective action, or simply sharing our findings with your network. We share some ways to get involved in the Why this Matters section.

How were the catalytic factors determined?

In order to determine the criteria for a catalytic factor, we ran a number of sampling methods 1000 times to find which of the factors were in the top 75%percentile with the highest catalytic score every time. Being a catalytic factor says nothing about the factor's importance to the rest of the system or about its potential market size. However, it does show that it has the highest potential to help us reach our transformational goal: making digital experiences healthier and more beautiful for young people.