How do our individual differences affect how we engage with technology?
Humans are not so unlike flowers
Some are more sensitive
Some less so…
These differences aren’t just a sub-plot; they are the story
Some flowers require just the right amount of sunlight and water to fully bloom. Others will bloom even when sunshine and rain are scarce. Just as different flowers react to weather conditions in different ways, people respond to the same digital experiences in different ways (a concept called differential susceptibility).
Research with teens reveals how individual differences impact digital well-being. If digital thriving is the goal, we cannot overlook teens’ unique strengths, vulnerabilities, identities, and contexts.
Even if all teens spent the same amount of time browsing the same content, they’d be affected in different ways. Teens don’t all browse the same content, though. And this further amplifies differences in their experiences.
We need to attend to differences and details — among teens, their lives, and their screen time — to design supports so all can bloom.