Landscaping tech and mental wellness

At the 2019 TAM colloquium, our attendees put their heads together to brainstorm the current hurdles in both understanding and addressing adolescent mental wellness in relation to technology.

The strategy session was lead by David Ryan Polgar, tech ethicist, TAM advisory board member, and founder of All Tech is Human.

First, we discussed what we had learned in Day 1 of the colloquium. For example, our youth panel told us that they prefer to learn about healthy tech use by doing, rather than be passively receiving advice, recommendations, or warnings.

We then outlined some of the current hurdles towards promoting health among adolescents when it comes to technology use. We noted that the more eye-catching headlines often contain misleading information about technology use, which inhibits a more accurate public dialogue. Further, perspectives do not align on what constitutes a “healthy” relationship between youth and technology.

Last, we discussed the way forward. How can we use technology to promote adolescent mental wellness? There is space to design business models in tech that hinge on doing good. We also noted the importance of designing solutions that are likely to be adopted and modeled between peers.

In short: We found that the hurdles are complex, but success is both visible and worth pursuing.

Feel free to use, reuse, and share the images above to promote discussion and debate in your own place of work or play, and don’t forget to share with us what you find!


TAM Youth meet WKOW-27!

On October 16th, 2019, members of the TAM Youth Advisory Board met with local news anchor Amber Noggle of WKOW-27 and media relations specialist Emily Kumlien of UW-Health to share their perspectives on youth technology use! Check out the news coverage and video clip here.


TAM Colloquium 2019

Thursday 9/5/19


Lunch & Welcome

We kicked off the colloquium with goal setting. On Day 1, we focused on understanding the landscape of adolescent mental wellness and technology use. On Day 2, we emphasized the successful progression of funded projects and building a longer-term community around TAM.

Left to right – Ellen Selkie, Amanda Lenhart, Dani Arigo, Olufunmilola Abraham

Researcher Panels

Our researcher panels featured student researchers (not pictured) as well as later-career researchers (see left). Our panelists spoke to what they perceive as the most pressing issues in the field. For example, Dr. Arigo highlighted the importance of looking at the same individual over time. If Monday’s tech use looks different from Tuesday’s, what variables might account for that?

Vicky Rideout

Lightning Talk

Vicky Rideout of VJR Consulting spoke to the differences between adolescents that affect their relationship to social media. Adolescents with and without depression, for example, do not respond in the same way to Facebook. Why is that? 

Left – right – Nusheen Ameenuddin, Johnna Georgia, Jennifer Schultz

Community Partners Panel

Our community partners included those in private practice, primary care, school settings, and nonprofit. As a group, we observed that our panelists’ experience “in the field” is different from the findings of researchers “at the bench” (or more precisely, at our computers). How can we combine these truths to paint a more comprehensive landscape? 

YAB Panel

Youth Advisory Board Panel

The youth advisory board panel was a highlight for many attendees. Our youth spoke (emphatically!) to the differences in technology use between youth, what’s hot (and not) across social media, and the need to learn moderate and healthy technology use through their own trial-and-error.

Banquet & Strategy Session

One of our advisory board members and founder of All Tech is Human, David Ryan Polgar, led us in a strategy session over dinner. We worked together to identify what we’ve learned, what barriers we’ve encountered, and next steps for promoting adolescent wellness through technology.

Friday 9/6/19

Funded Projects

On Friday, we focused time on hearing from the diverse array of six projects funded through TAM. Projects focused on the LatinX and Native youth populations, middle school curricula, peripartum youth seeking support online, and youth experiencing cyberbullying. PIs collaborated with colloquium attendees to maximize the reach and success of their projects.

Community Building

We concluded the event by hearing from everyone. We worked to identify the most important features of an online TAM community, from gateways to collaboration to funding opportunities for much-needed research. Thanks to all attendees for their engagement, energy, and endless ideas!

Building Community 2

Click here for the complete 2019 TAM Colloquium Agenda