Teens, tech and the ethics gap

On 24 February, VFFF’s ethical development program delivery partner the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) hosted a panel discussing teenagers’ use of technology

Representatives from BIT, Google and the Department of Education joined three young people in discussing this issue. There were a number of key takeouts from the discussion:

  • The moral panic around teens' use of technology is inaccurate and unhelpful.
  • Young people often don't distinguish between behaviours in the online and offline worlds.
  • We need to focus more on ethical development, and less on specific risks and platforms.
  • There's too much focus on risks, and not enough of other issues such as body image.
  • The online environment shapes behaviours, but teens can make changes to regain control.
  • The tech industry needs to design platforms to better support young people.
  • We need to change the way we support young people to deal with this evolving challenge.
  • Young people need to be involved in designing solutions.

The discussion highlighted the relevance of VFFF and BIT’s work on Digital Compass which is being evaluated in 2020 through a randomised control trial in NSW secondary schools. Digital Compass focuses on changing ethical online behaviour and has been co-designed with over 500 young people.


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