02.160TS Designing Digital Technology for Children and Teens

Home / Education / Undergraduate Subjects / 02.160TS Designing Digital Technology for Children and Teens

From Netflix and YouTube Kids to TikTok and Instagram, children and adolescents are frequent users of media technologies and consumers of media content. Globally, organizations such as governmental agencies, schools, media companies, and technological firms will increasingly face challenges in catering digital media products to younger users. Understanding the impact of and complexities surrounding media for children is essential for aspiring product and software designers who want to work in the intersection between young people and media. This course provides a developmental perspective surrounding youths as media consumers. It introduces students to the major theories of child development and examines how media products can impact the lives of children across different age groups, from early childhood to adolescence. It is suitable for students with varying interests, especially those who are interested in working with technology or media content for youths. Some questions we will tackle include: How do children grow and learn? What are important things to consider when designing digital technology and media content for children? What are the effects of media use on youths across various age groups? How can media technologies and content be shaped in a manner that is responsible to future generations?

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:
• Identify and describe different theories of child development
• Assess, evaluate, and critique existing digital media products using the theoretical perspectives discussed in the course
• Understand the ethical responsibilities in the design of media products for youths
• Translate theoretical understanding of human development into responsible and developmentally sensitive digital media programmes (e.g. platform, videogame, TV show, etc) targeting either children or youths which is beneficial for their development

Measurable Outcomes:
• Document and create reflective weekly Instagram entries applying the concepts discussed in each week’s class to specific real-world products used by children and adolescents, suitable for and appreciated by the public
• Develop and deliver a 2-page reflection essay applying the concepts discussed in class to a particular observation where a child or adolescent is interacting with a digital device
• Propose and design a developmentally beneficial digital media application or programme (e.g. platform, videogame, TV show, etc) for either children or youths
• Develop and deliver an oral presentation, suitable for a professional and/or academic audience, that describes the key aspects of the project from conception to its conclusion
• Develop and deliver a 10- to 15-page written report, suitable for a professional and/or academic audience, that describes the key aspects of the project from conception to its conclusion

Course Requirement

Assessment Percentage
WEC – Instagram Posts 20
WEC – Individual Reflection Essay 30
WEC – Project Pitch 10
WEC – Final Group Project Report 40

Weekly Schedule

Week 1: Course introduction

Week 2: Development in infancy and toddlerhood (0 to 2)

Week 3: Development in early childhood (2 to 7)

Week 4: Development in middle childhood (7 to 12)

Week 5: Development in adolescence (13+)

Week 6: Review week

Week 7: Recess week

Week 8: Understanding media products in terms of their affordances

Week 9: The dark side of digital media

Week 10: Parenting, media literacy, and algorithmic awareness

Week 11: Industry guest lecture/field trip

Week 12: Mapping and translating developmental theory to designing media products

Week 13: Project pitches

Week 14: Final report submission

Andrew Yee