Digital Thriving

This is the question keeping us up at night! Our team will be embarking on a Listening Tour this year to discover what it realistically means for people to digitally thrive. For now, our working definition is:

To digitally thrive is to have technology fit into your life in ways that improve your well-being, your community, and our broader society. Digital agency fuels digital thriving.

Digital thriving is ongoing, individual and collective work. Depending on the roles you play in society, it can take on different forms.

Parents, caregivers, and families can…
  • Ask questions to learn more about what it’s like to grow up with smartphones and social media. One of our favorites is “What are adults missing about social media that you most wish we understood?”
  • Tap into empathy (rather than eye rolling) when teens talk about tech.
  • Shift from being stuck in the role of a digital referee – just blowing the whistle when screen time is over, or issuing penalties when rules have been broken – to being more like a digital coach. Coaches for digital thriving help problem-solve by asking first, “How are you?” and then, “How’s tech helping or hurting?” “What skills can we build to help you navigate tech?”
  • Take a deeper look into what adults are missing about the tricky digital landscape that teens are navigating.
Teachers can…
  • Bring in lessons that build digital agency and support youth to thrive in a tech-filled world.
  • Equip students to think critically and hone their tech habits with their values and well-being.
  • Build students’ digital agency by inviting them to co-create effective classroom tech policies.
Policymakers can…
  • Make decisions that are anchored in research and young people’s varied needs and experiences.
  • Create policies that account for both the upsides and downsides of tech, as well as the varied experiences of different youth.
  • Consider how regulation can help amplify digital agency.
Healthcare providers can…
  • Be alert to the ways tech can amplify physical and mental health issues.Ask questions and provide meaningful supports to address the impact of digital health on overall health.
Tech creators can…
  • Commit to actions that prioritize thriving and digital agency over clicks and profits.
  • Design with youth well-being at the forefront of design decisions.
  • Partner with researchers and youth to better understand the impacts of tech design on youth and how to reduce harms.

We are each uniquely positioned to advance digital thriving for ourselves and those around us. Digital thriving is an all hands on deck mission that will require collective effort. Making digital life better for everyone is not the responsibility of a single person, group, organization, or tool.