Understanding Digital-Safety Experiences of Youth in the U.S.

Diana Freed
Natalie N. Bazarova
Eunice Han
Patrick Gage Kelley
Dan Cosley
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM(2023)


The seamless integration of technology into the lives of youth has raised concerns about their digital safety. While prior work has explored youth experiences with physical, sexual, and emotional threats—such as bullying and trafficking—a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the myriad threats that youth experience is needed. By synthesizing the perspectives of 36 youth and 65 adult participants from the U.S., we provide an overview of today’s complex digital-safety landscape. We describe attacks youth experienced, how these moved across platforms and into the physical world, and the resulting harms. We also describe protective practices the youth and the adults who support them took to prevent, mitigate, and recover from attacks, and key barriers to doing this effectively. Our findings provide a broad perspective to help improve digital safety for youth and set directions for future work.