Report launch – Pathways: How digital design puts children at risk

The report “Pathways: How digital design puts children at risk”, written for the 5Rights foundation, has been launched today at an event bringing together policy makers, charities and leading thinkers in the online safety space.

Over the years, we have carried out a huge amount of work around the online experiences of young people, exploring their behaviours, current trends, the evolution of platforms and how this interacts with their daily lives.

We’ve heard from children themselves that they are spending extensive amounts of time on social media, interacting with content meant for adult audiences and often incredibly caught up in how they present themselves online. It’s a subject that so many people are interested in – parents, government, teachers, children and platforms themselves – and there has been much debate around the impact social media has on children and what should be done about it. But the question we really need to answer first is:

How do digital products shape the lives and experiences of children?

To find answers, we’ve combined a detailed exploration of the platforms themselves, findings from in-depth interviews with children and data from online ‘avatars’ – to provide comprehensive insight into the impact of digital design on young people. 

Alongside the report, we have published two articles:

1) Gamified life, exploring how social media has morphed into a high stakes game, where those pushing themselves to the extremes are often the winners.

2) ‘Mystery shopping’ the digital world, providing insight into how and why we used avatars to lift the lid on the experiences of children online.