The internet is becoming an increasingly judgmental place for youth.
Within seconds of scrolling through social media, we can easily fall into comparison traps and feel like we aren’t smart enough, wealthy enough, attractive enough or popular enough. We feel we must show only our “highlights” and achievements to our followers, and because of this, we lack the freedom to be our true selves online. Yet, our lives, identities and friendships are now heavily intertwined with digital spaces.
Although health, nutrition and exercise are popular topics for content creators, authentic conversation about youth’s digital wellbeing is severely lacking.
But we have the opportunity to do better. We’re here today to tell you that hope prevails, and it exists in the form of a two-letter word — HX.
Short for human experience, HX is a term that encompasses the role that technology plays in our daily lives. In contrast to the term UX, which stands for user experience, HX looks at the impact of our digital experiences on us as humans. Framing technological issues around the human experience allow us to better discuss them on a societal scale.
Starting conversations about digital wellbeing and digital addiction, especially in spaces where people have the agency to create change, is so important because technology alters our society every day and we need to take back control. With a term like HX, starting those conversations becomes a lot easier.
A first step in improving your individual HX is shifting your mindset into curiosity about your digital habits instead of self-judgment.
By bringing awareness to our time online and becoming a neutral observer of our tech use we can see what works for each of us. We can ask ourselves: “Am I spending too much time online? Does this site give me energy or make me feel worse about myself? Do I feel like I am enough when I am in this digital space?”
While individuals can take their own steps to improve their HX, consideration of the human experience should also become an integral part of the app and program development. By creating a term to capture our holistic relationship with technology, we can better discuss companies’ responsibilities in making effective changes. Understanding the needs, challenges, pain points and wants of youth can help build a bridge of trust from designers to the young people relying on their products. Companies have an opportunity to begin an authentic dialogue with their teen users and better understand the holistic impact of online spaces. We must encourage them to take it.
Improving our individual and collective HX is important because we have a huge opportunity to positively impact this and the next generation of youth. HX provides a starting point for the conversations we must have to make it happen. Social media and technology use isn’t going away, and the momentum around improving our relationships with technology has only grown since the pandemic. Instead of simply adapting to the broken system in place, we are looking to transform it. Teachers, parents and young people are all looking to others for answers on how to manage their feelings and habits around technology use, but the answer lies in our own hands. Focusing on the human experience is step one — that’s checkmate on technology.