Digital Delta set out to find the root factors that have the largest impact on youth wellbeing in relation to making digital experiences more beautiful for young people. The question we wanted to answer was which root factors, if solved, could have the biggest cascading positive impact?
We found that 13 factors had the highest
on and highest
across the system at large, in turn giving the root factor a high catalytic score. We believe these 13
if we address them, will have the largest effect on the entire system.
The 13 catalytic factors were sorted into three themes or opportunity areas – positive relationships, accessible resources, and balanced content. These three areas are where this community of leaders can gather together to focus our energy, effort, investments, policies, technologies and innovations on the core areas with the highest potential for impact.
We want to thank Eric Berlow, a social impact data scientist, for working on this project with us and explaining how to find simplicity in complexity so clearly.
Digital Delta uses crowdsourcing to make this research more equitable, inclusive, and to bring together the diversity and wisdom of the community at large. The statistics below highlight the richness and diversity of the people and process behind Digital Delta.
Young people have grown up using the internet and all manner of digital tools as key parts of their daily lives. However, the internet is still a wild place with few rules or clear paths to follow. Some digital platforms and tools offer young people fantastic experiences and are an asset to their development into adults. But other digital environments can be too harsh, and without adequate support, may harm mental and emotional development. "Making digital experiences healthier and more beautiful" means creating digital places and experiences that support positive outcomes for young people as they — or you! — grow up.
We compiled the 77
(e.g. access to support when bad things happen, self-esteem, or supportive relationships through/with social media) that relate to youth wellbeing or contribute to the erosion of wellbeing. We asked caring adults, researchers, innovators, healthcare providers, educators, and youth themselves to compile these factors. We then supported the factors they listed with attributes from academic and popular literature that could contribute to the North Star.
In the classic example of crowdsourcing, Francis Galton asked people to estimate the weight of an ox. He asked a lot of people a simple question to get a single number. The trick is that while one person could not be expected to know the exact answer, together they did (and do).
Over 800 people from a community of entrepreneurs, innovators, youth, investors, researchers, policy makers, educators, and builders worked to figure out systematically how all the factors related to one another. Through a gamified survey, this community rated how the factors were connected.
We asked a series of simple questions to arrive at an answer to a more complex question: how do we identify the strongest opportunities to impact the wellbeing of youth as they grow up, make connections, face challenges, and mature in digital places? While no single person can be expected to know what the strongest opportunities are, together we can.
We intentionally chose to
answers from BIPOC respondents and from youth to make this research more inclusive, and to bring together all the diversity and wisdom of the crowd at large. For that reason, 54% of our respondents identify as BIPOC.
Using the community-created findings, we analyzed the data to identify which factors are the most catalytic. Then we mapped the catalytic factors that emerged to show how they influenced each other. The result is a visualization to guide our community to understand the highest-leverage opportunities. Digital Delta is a starting point for everyone interested in advancing youth wellbeing to develop businesses, initiate programs, raise funds, or advocate for causes that will catalyze the change we want to see.