The Socio-Technical Interaction Research (STIR) Lab at UCF intends to create a new participatory design program, called "Teenovate," where teenagers and adults work together to design technologies that keep teens safe online. Previous participatory design projects, however, commonly focus on younger children under the age of 13. Teens differ significantly from young children in how they develop, socialize, and perceive the world. To inform the design of Teenovate, so that their unique needs are appropriately met, we conducted a participatory design study with 21 teens using polls, open-ended response questions, and subsequent group discussions. The teens were intrigued by the idea of participating in the Teenovate program as designers, with some expressing a desire to expand to co-researching. However, their established external obligations often took priority over their internal desires to participate in the program. Teens were also wary of working with and contributing ideas to adults, and wanted to ensure that their contributions were respected, listened to, and used to make an impact in online safety solutions. Based on these findings, we propose an approach to adolescent online safety participatory design research through Teenovate that places teens into the role of an end-to-end solution developer on dynamic project-based teams that result in a real-world impact. Our findings helped create a framework for the logistics of involving teens onto an adolescent co-design team.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Wisniewski, Pamela


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date