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Enabling flexible permissions for teens

London Design Jam
11th Dec 2018
Parental controls that can reflect the complex reality of a parent-teen relationships need to be flexible and create space for conversation and negotiation.
Product Context

Tivi is a fictional subscription service for watching TV, movies and other video content. Tivi create their own shows and also provide access to content from the world’s leading producers.

In order to provide the service, Tivi is powered by some of the following data:

  • An algorithm to predict content they think a person would like to watch based on a combination of viewing history, viewing habits of your friends, and other users with similar preferences
  • Direct debit details, to enable payment for the monthly subscription. It also offers in-app purchases for special content which can be authorised using a password or finger print
  • Tivi offers multi-user accounts to share access with family or friends. Viewing records for each viewer are kept separate, and only the primary account holder can access the viewing history of other people

Problem & Opportunity

Designing for young people is also designing for their parent or guardian in mind. Parents may want to restrict access to certain kinds of content, especially video content, and they need tools that can set down ground rules but are flexible enough to also make exceptions.

Young people need the space to act freely within clear boundaries set by others and the challenge is in balancing these two needs with each other.

How might we...

...enable young people to negotiate digital rules & relationships with their parents?

Tivi's Team sharing their prototypes

Design Features
Flexible decision making

A parent or guardian can set guidelines within the app to restrict certain content for the teen based on age. The teen is still able to freely browse all the content and can ask for permission through the app if they want to watch restricted content. This gives parents the flexibility to make decisions on a case-by-case basis and opens up a space for discussion and negotiation.

Initially, the main account holder, Jackie, can share the 'guidelines' she's selected for content with her teen. Touching 'Review Now' allows the teen to see a set of cards which walk through any restrictions on movie ratings or content. As the teen uses the app on a near daily basis, and she gets recommendations from her friends, she lands on content that goes outside Jackie's guidelines. The teen can ask for permission right from the app which Jackie can make an exception to or deny.

Tivi London2018 WalkthroughGIF
Design Features
Using data to influence decision making

Both parent and teen get a monthly overview of viewing stats. This is accompanied by aggregated stats from friends and the wider community as well. This helps both teen and parent to understand the teen's viewing behavior within a wider context and reassures the parent that their child's viewing habits and content requests are not unusual.

Tivi London2018 6-account sharing
Next steps

TiVi's design exploration revolves around the idea of respect as it relates to ownership of information and privacy in a shared relationship. A layer of complexity uniquely exists in a Parent-Teen relationship where a parent is often viewed as the main data holder and controller, leaving teens with little room for agency in how they want to control their privacy and information. The Tivi team wanted to explore how this experience could be a dialogue between a parent and a teen, as how it would be ideally in real life. A parent can set the initial boundaries, but the teen will have room to personalise the controls that are relevant to them.

Tivi team's believes there are a lot of creative opportunities here to create experiences that respect both parents and teens' access, privacy and data control needs.

How might we build on Tivi's ideas to...

  • Further explore giving both guardian and teen an overview of all the viewing permissions?
  • Consider ways in which Jackie might preview content being requested to make a quick determination?
  • Explore how parental restrictions could also be applied flexibly to content that is ostensibly age appropriate, but which the parent would rather not make available?
  • Use the real-time wisdom of the Tivi community to give Jackie a better reason to accept or deny requests, eg. Are most teens watching this program?