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Tackling toxic digital behaviour

Role: UX research, UX design, concept development, workshop facilitator

8 weeks (2020)


→ 6 designers


→ Figma

This project aims to tackle toxic digital behaviour by re-imagining interactions on social media.


In this project, we created and facilitated co-design workshops with students from Malmö International High School exploring the topic of digital toxic behaviour and designing new interactions that tackle these issues


→ Malmö International High school

Project goal and outcome

The aim of the workshops was to create a safe space for the students to feel comfortable and heard, and to encourage critical thinking, self-reflection and creativity on the topic of digital behaviour.

The outcome of the workshops includes concepts for new features and interactions on social media that foster healthy digital behaviour that were developed using co-design methods with the students and based on key insights from the workshop.

What is toxic digital behaviour?

Toxic digital behaviours are one of the leading problems facing young people's mental health.


It is an umbrella term that includes a range of behaviours and negative impacts.

Toxic digital behaviour





Low self-esteem


Students reflections on the workshops:
"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."
Design outcome

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. 


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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.

Community based support

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Design process

01 Research

  • Topic of cyberbullying

  • Co-design workshop methods

02 Stakeholders

  • Interview with Malmö International High School teacher and guidance counsellor

  • Pre-workshop survey with students

03 Ideation & prototyping

  • Designing the structure of the workshop

  • Designing workshop methods 

04 The workshop

  • Conducted 4 workshops with 80 students

05 Analysis 

  • Analysing students discussions and reflection from the workshop 

  • Analysing the results of the methods

  • Analysing the design concepts

06 Design outcome 

  • Developed concepts from the key themes and insights from the workshop

The workshop

The structure of the workshop involved a series of methods that build upon each other and tackled issues such as online toxic behaviour, cyberbullying and FOMO.



Introduce topic 

Critical thinking

Personal experience


Workshop insights

The following workshop outcomes were analysed:

  • Student discussions and reflections of the workshop

  • The result of the methods

  • The design concepts 

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:

Platform regulations

Community based support


Workshop methods

01 Find your other app

Aim: Introduce the topic of social media platforms and engage with the students.

Activity: Students were assigned social media apps with the goal of finding their matching app by describing their app in 3 words.

02 Word sorting

Aim: Start to foster critical thinking about different digital behaviour social media platforms.

Activity: 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.

03 What's your home screen?

Aim: Foster self-reflection on the student's digital lives.

Activity: 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

Aim: Introduce the topic and issues of online toxic behaviour and cyberbullying within social media platforms.

Activity: 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

Aim: Build upon the previous methods to re-imagine interactions on social media platforms.

Activity: Students deconstructing social media functions and analysing them, ideating new features and combining concepts within groups to design new interaction features using methods such as 'crazy 8'.

06 Elevator pitch and discussion

Aim: Create discussions on how we could re-imagine interactions on social media to tackle online toxic behaviour and foster healthy digital behaviour.

Activity: Students presented their design concepts and discussed common themes from the presentations. 

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