TAM Colloquium 2021

The 2021 Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness (TAM) Colloquium brought together people from diverse backgrounds. The virtual colloquium was the third annual gathering of this community.

During the first day, TAM grant awardees presented updates on their year 1 and year 2 projects and discussed some of the key takeaways from their experiences.

In 2018, six projects were funded that answered the question: How can technology support adolescent mental wellness? During their second year they were answering the same question in the context of a global pandemic, political unrest, and heightened awareness of the long-standing racism in the United States.

While the awardees were presenting, the community engaged in discussion regarding the obstacles caused by bots in research. This was something that Dr. Yalda Uhls and her team encountered when recruiting for their year 2 study. The community came together to come up with some ideas on how to spot bots in data.

There was also an invigorating discussion about the ins-and-outs of getting IRB approval. Several of the awardees faced IRB challenges and the conversation led to the idea of possibly sharing the experiences and solutions from the group in a publication.

The second day of the colloquium was dedicated to engaging youth in improving adolescent health through research and practice. Youth from the TAM Youth Advisory Board (YAB) shared their perspectives and experiences throughout the day. A group of 15 teens from across the nation make up the TAM YAB. The youth are asked to share their expertise on how to successfully include teens in social media research, what they are observing with their own or their friends’ social media use, and what else they are looking for when working alongside researchers.

The Colloquium always includes presentations from other members of the Madison community and their experiences working with youth. This year the Wisconsin Partnership Program and PATCH presented. They shared their experiences engaging youth even in an online environment and creating safe spaces for youth to lead the way. Most of the youth driven conversations can lead to powerful topics such as mental health, the Black Lives Matter movement, and others. Speakers emphasized that it’s essential to create a safe space before diving into important topics.

A major highlight each year is the youth panel. This year’s panel included discussions about how their technology use has changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many youth found themselves setting their technology aside to spend time outdoors or reading. TikTok was interestingly not a huge part of the conversation, but Discord was a new crowd favorite.

Below, some of the TAM YAB members described what made them interested in getting involved with the program and what they think researchers should be asking about technology and adolescent mental wellness:

For the full 2021 Colloquium agenda visit:


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