“There is a safety in online community because you’re able to seek out as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. You’re able to build those connections when you’re ready and on your own terms, in a way that’s sometimes taken away from you in real life,” Ose shared in their speech to kick off Springboard, an ideation lab focused on teens and tech. The lab was hosted by Headstream, a project I direct, in collaboration with Artists for Humanity (AFH). Headstream’s mission is to build, source, and accelerate innovations that inspire a community to reimagine the positive role social technologies can have for the wellbeing of young people, like Ose, across the country.
Headstream, a project created by SecondMuse and supported by Pivotal Ventures, has spent the past year engaging with teens, technologists, and other experts to deeply understand what it is like to grow up in 2019. At the heart of each conversation, we listened closely to the answer to a guiding question: How can we ensure that social technologies support teenagers in their social development and wellbeing? We heard hundreds of inspiring approaches, and these four common themes have become the foundation of the Headstream Accelerator program: