News

Our approach to co-designing with teens and parents/guardians

elaine montgomery

Elaine Montgomery

Product Design Director at Meta & Co-Lead of TTC Labs

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Dan Busso

User Experience Researcher at Meta

As we work to support young people and their families across Meta technologies, we’re committed to learning from teens, parents, guardians and experts. Through our global program of co-design and expert consultation, we use a multidisciplinary research approach that invites people to participate as collaborators in our design process, empowering them to have their say and ensuring our products meet their needs.

Over the last six months, we’ve built on TTC Labs’ multi-year effort to design for young people's safety and privacy across Meta technologies. Through our partnership with Smart Design, we’re conducting a first phase of co-design sessions with teens and parents and consulting with experts in the US, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, Japan and India. While we’ve conducted user research with young people and parents for a long time, this new program offers a collaborative space to design for young people and their caregivers by co-creating with them.

This initiative is driven by our goal to provide safe and empowering experiences for teens as they learn, create, play and interact online. Our approach to supporting families is grounded in children’s rights principles and the UN’s best interests of the child standard. Regulations such as the ICO’s Age Appropriate Design Code and the IDPC’s Children’s Fundamentals are also foundational to how we build privacy and safety into our technologies. These principles and standards emphasize the importance of providing safe, age-appropriate digital environments for youth that promote their emerging autonomy while also recognizing the roles, rights and responsibilities of parents. They also underscore the need to build for diverse families globally, considering different household situations, abilities and forms of care and equal and effective access to technology.

In the initial phase of the program, we’re focusing on topics related to parental supervision and teen autonomy, as well as household digital literacy and social media education. While we’re building tools for all teens (aged 13-17), we’re hearing from parents and young people themselves that early teens are in a unique transitional phase as they are just beginning their social media journeys and are learning how to develop positive habits around technology. We’re also learning that teens and parents aspire to have a relationship based around trust, transparency and communication. That’s why we’re providing parents with insights that can support targeted conversations and open dialogue around social media.

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As we expand and iterate the program, we will broaden our focus to include a wider set of safety, privacy and wellbeing-related topics. We’re especially interested in hearing from a range of families on how variations in teens’ age, household structure, level of parental oversight and socio-cultural context play out in teens’ and parents’ needs and motivations.

These co-design sessions are paired with consultations with external experts, including regulators, NGOs and academics. We’re engaging a range of individuals and organizations dedicated to holistic, youth-centered development that provide direct services to community-based youth groups across sectors, including education, health and well-being, digital literacy, privacy, and safety. The program is also piloting new collaborative models, such as inviting these expert groups to nominate teens and parents from their communities, observe the research and participate in a session to provide feedback and explore co-design insights and dilemmas together.

We’ll continue to communicate publicly on our progress as we roll out the program to additional countries, and will publish a report and accompanying resources on the TTC Labs website with relevant tools, insights and observations later in 2022.

elaine montgomery

Elaine Montgomery

Product Design Director at Meta & Co-Lead of TTC Labs

Elaine is a Product Design Director in Privacy at Meta. She also co-leads TTC Labs, and is based in Seattle.
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Dan Busso

User Experience Researcher at Meta

Dan Busso is a User Experience Researcher in Privacy at Meta.

TTC Labs is a cross-industry effort to create innovative design solutions that put people in control of their privacy.

Initiated and supported by Meta, and built on collaboration, the movement has grown to include hundreds of organisations, including major global businesses, startups, civic organisations and academic institutions.