Teenovate: Adults and Teenagers working together for Online Safety

What is Teenovate?

Teenovate is a technology co-design program, where researchers at the University of Central Florida’s STIR Lab (Socio-Technical Interaction Research Lab) partner with teenagers work together, side-by-side, to develop new solutions for helping teens keep themselves safe online.

  • Teenagers are some of the most prolific users of technology and social media, but sometimes encounter online risks like harassment, cyberbullying, and unwanted exposure to explicit content.
  • Some work has been done to develop and other tools to protect teens from these online risks, but research shows that the majority of these tools fail to consider teenagers’ needs and wants, and rarely involve teenagers themselves in their design.
  • The Teenovate program seeks to form long-term design partnerships with teenagers, who work together with researchers on specific projects related to online safety. Teenovate teams meet bi-weekly to co-design and prototype solutions, focused on giving teenagers the ability to manage their own online safety.

How does Teenovate work?

The Teenovate program uses a method known as Participatory Design, where all parties involved in the design process, including end-users, have an equal say in what the final solution or product should look like.

  • We understand that teenagers want to have their voices heard in the making the technology that supports their everyday online interactions.
  • Teenovate creates a collaborative space where teens are not just heard, but encouraged to do.
  • Our teen co-designers can be involved at every step of the process, from choosing the online safety problems that they want to work on, to conceptualizing online safety solutions with researchers, to prototyping and testing the final products of these solutions with technology companies so that our work can have a real-world impact.

How do I sign up?

Teenovate is currently in the process of forming a Youth Advisory Board for STIR Lab research projects. You can click the button below to apply to the board (Applications close February 25th, 2022). Please contact Neeraj Chatlani (Teenovate Program Manager) at nchatlani@knights.ucf.edu or Dr. Pamela Wisniewski (STIR Lab Director) at pamwis@ucf.edu for more information.

“This research is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant number #CHS-1844881. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the research sponsors.”