Question ///

How can you inspire teens to become advocates for better data futures?

Answer ///

Create a data personality quiz that turns data models into easy to understand ‘data creatures’ that are matched to your priorities.

Background ///

Under Your Internet is an open invitation for young people to rebuild technology to reflect their values. Our playful educational experience aims to help young people understand how their data is used by today's digital technology and suggests different models to match their priorities.

Young people are, and will continue to be, disproportionately affected by the oppressive data systems we continue to build. However, they are largely underrepresented in decision-making and development. Our goal, with Under your Internet, is to engage, encourage and inspire young people to share their opinions – to reorient technology for the care of future generations.

During our research, we found that young people on the whole found the task of imagining better technological paradigms extremely hard. Both because current data extraction models are so omnipresent that other futures feel impossible. Secondly because, imagination requires a certain belief in one’s own agency and most students felt powerless against an industry that seemed not to care about them at all.

“Are you kidding? They're tech companies. I'm a 16-year-old. They're giants and I'm an ant.”

So we decided that before we could ask young people to dream, they needed to know that change was possible – that today’s extractive data practices weren’t the only option and that people were already exploring alternatives.

The Experience ///

Under Your Internet acts like a data personality quiz. It begins by exposing the volume of information that is collected and resold by your very own ‘data monster’ and then asks you a series of questions such as your beliefs on data collection and usage, altruistic or capitalistic tendencies and privacy. Depending on your answers, you are matched with one of four ‘data creatures’ representing alternative models of data governance. Through chatting with them, you learn more about how they might work and existing examples. By transforming the models into characters, we hope to make what can be a very technical topic a little more accessible and emotionally salient.

We based the data governance models on existing literature, including researchfrom Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab, and added a creative interpretation of their characters and personality traits.

Funded by Mozilla Creative Media Awards