Cybercops: re-imagining interactions on social media
This project aims to re-imagine interactions on social media to foster healthy digital behaviour through co-design workshops process with students from Malmö International High School. The workshop tackled issues such as online toxic behaviour and cyberbullying and involves a series of methods that build upon each other to foster self-reflection, critical thinking and creativity.
The motivation behind this project was to create a safe space for the students to feel comfortable and heard and to encourage critical thinking, self-refection and creativity on the topic of digital behaviour.
Malmö International High School (MIS)
8 weeks (2020)
Four workshops were conducted during this project with 80 design students from Malmö International High School. The workshops involved a series of methods that build upon each other to foster critical thinking, self reflection and creativity while creating a safe environment for the students. The topic of the workshop was digital behaviour and tackled issues such as cyberbullying, toxic behaviour and FOMO. The goal of the workshop was to re-imagine and re-design interactions on social media platforms that foster healthy digital behaviour.
The video below shows the full outline of the workshop with the students.
Online toxic behaviours are some of the leading problems facing both young people’s mental health and the social media industry. We approached these sensitive issues through an umbrella term of digital behaviour during the co-design workshops with the students while gradually building up methods to tackle issues such as cyberbullying.
Research into cyberbullying and co-design workshop methods
Interview with MIS teacher and guidance counsellor and pre-workshop survey with students
Designing the flow of the workshop and series of methods
Prototyping the workshop methods and the overall flow of the workshop
05 The Workshop
Conducting four workshops with 80 design students at MIS
Analysing the workshop outcomes (student's design concepts, discussions and reflections) and developing two concepts from the main themes of the workshop outcomes
The Workshop Methods
01 Find your other app
The aim of this method was to introduce the topic of social media platforms and engage with the students. The students were assigned social media apps with the goal of finding their matching app by describing their app in 3 words.
02 Word sorting
The aim of this method was to start to foster critical thinking about different digital behaviour social media platforms. The students were given both positive and negative key words such as envy, anonymous and inspiring with the goal to assign them to different social media platforms and discuss their decision within groups. They were also encouraged to come up with their own key words.
03 What's your home screen?
The aim of this method was to foster self-reflection on the student's digital lives. The students were given a blank smartphone home screen template and asked to fill it in with the apps on their own home screen and reflect upon what it says about their digital identity.
04 Instagram Interview video
The aim of this method was to introduce the topic and issues of online toxic behaviour and cyberbullying within social media platforms. The students watched an interview with the CEO of Instagram discussing cyberbullying and what the platform is currently doing to tackle the issue.
05 Design studio
The aim of this method was to build upon the previous methods to re-imagine interactions on social media platforms. This included deconstructing social media functions and analysing them, ideating new features and combining concepts within groups to design new interaction features.
08 Elevator pitch and discussion
The aim of this method was to create discussions on how we could re-imagine interactions on social media to tackle online toxic behaviour and foster healthy digital behaviour. The students presented their concepts from the previous methods and discussed common themes from the concepts presented.
What's your home screen?
Elevator pitch and discussion
After analysing the workshop outcomes and insights such as the student’s design concepts, discussions and reflections, we identified key themes and problem areas within social media platforms such as cyberbullying in the comment section of social media.
Based on the insights, we identified potential angles to address online toxic behaviour and foster healthy digital behaviour:
Community based support
Student's reflections on the workshop
"It was super nice to address issues within social media, the obsession and the toxic culture as we rarely talk about these in school."
"It made me think differently about social media, I didn't think there were so many problems with social media however, there are a lot of things to improve to make it safer for everyone. I'm more self aware about it now and much more careful before replying to a comment or post online."
"My favourite part was that we followed a complete design process: identifying a problem, discovering and developing ideas, sketching the solution and evaluating it together as a class."
Based on the insights from the workshop and student's design concepts we developed two concepts for new features within social media platforms to foster healthy digital behaviour by focusing on tackling cyberbullying in the comment section.
Weekly Comment Summary
Weekly Comment Summary aims to address cyberbullying within the comment section of social media platforms by focusing on self-reflection. This feature is aimed towards the user who is posting toxic comments though would be available for any user.
The feature displays a weekly comment summary which could include data such as, most used words, most negative comments and comments that caused a lot of reactions. The goal of this feature is encourage users to reflect upon their online behaviour and set a foundation for healthy digital behaviour.
Community based support
Community based action
Community Based Action aims to address the process of reporting cyberbullying on social media platforms by focusing on community based support. This feature is aimed towards the user who is the victim of cyberbullying.
The feature extends the transparency when a user reports a comment as cyberbullying and encouraging them to reach out for support by connecting them to their core group of friends on the platform. The goal of this feature is to create a more supportive and transparent experience for user after reporting cyberbullying and to make them feel like they are not alone.
This concept could be developed further with an additional co-design workshop that focuses on online communities and how to foster supportive networks for users.