Headstream's News
November 18, 2023

Teen Digital Well-being: How We’re Redesigning For A Different World

More than ever, we as a community need to be supporting today’s youth as they navigate these unprecedented times. Headstream is dedicated to improving the digital well-being of today’s teens, which is why we’re proud to announce the expansion of our program to include a new Incubator and a second Accelerator. Our goal is to create a digital world focused on promoting positivity for teens and we’re excited to highlight the innovators playing such a huge role with this mission.

Teen Digital Well-being: How We’re Redesigning For A Different World

More than ever, we as a community need to be supporting today’s youth as they navigate these unprecedented times. Headstream is dedicated to improving the digital wellbeing of today’s teens, which is why we’re proud to announce the expansion of our program to include a new Incubator and a second Accelerator. Our goal is to create a digital world focused on promoting positivity for teens and we’re excited to highlight the innovators playing such a huge role with this mission.

What's it like to be a teen in today’s world?

This is a difficult moment in time for everyone, but this period of isolation is especially amplified for young people. Stuck at home, missing out on important, even defining life moments like prom and graduation, teens are left feeling some type of way.

Yet, there are amazing young people who are refusing to let physical isolation stand in their way. They’re building exact replicas of their schools and campuses on minecraft so that they can all attend graduation together. They’re creating viral dances and funny challenges that are contributing to a sense of belonging and a feeling of community. And they’re developing perhaps the world’s largest library of memes to tell everyone exactly how they’re feeling.

On the other hand, there are also a lot of young people who are struggling right now. High school seniors have had their final year cut short and are facing many more unknowns than ever before as they prepare for college. Others are simply stuck at home, feeling unfilled by hours of video chats that seem social, but can actually leave many teens feeling more isolated than ever.

These ups and downs, the need for connection, pleas for constructive outlets are all unfolding in digital places. Places teenagers know intimately but are relying on more than ever.

This is the challenge that Headstream is addressing. We are supporting digital places and tools that can support the wellbeing of today’s young people, whether they’re pushing the bounds of what’s possible in digital spaces or they simply need a friend to talk to. While Headstream, powered by innovation agency SecondMuse, has been focused on this challenge since 2018, the sudden jar from “normal” amplifies the need for transformative, inclusive digital experiences.

With this in mind, we are proud to share the expansion of Headstream to launch an Incubator, supporting the efforts of five more digital wellbeing innovators, and a second Accelerator, continuing into 2021.

To ensure that these innovations actually get into the hands of young people, we’re also kicking off a national (virtual) Youth Advisor Program in May. Headstream is rising up to meet this challenge, and we are incredibly excited for the opportunity to bring more supportive, inclusive, and social digital experiences to young people across the US.

The first cohort of the Headstream Accelerator, focused on a market-based approach to acceleration,  can be found here. Accelerator participants will receive $35,000 in award funding, guided support, a mini-advisory board, and youth co-creation opportunities provided by the Headstream team and community. The Headstream Incubator includes five innovators who will work to create market ready products. Incubator innovators will receive $15,000 in award funding, fundraising and services design support, and a pathway to the second cohort of the Accelerator, alongside other newly selected entrepreneurs.

This program expansion gives Headstream the opportunity to create an innovation pipeline directly from our innovators to the young people who want to find more meaningful ways to connect and spend their time online. We are thrilled to continue supporting our diverse cohort of innovators and to ensure that they are able to support equally diverse communities of youth.

At Headstream, we acknowledge the systemic, institutional, and psychological barriers that exist for women and people of color in the technology sector, and we are taking a stand to bring underrepresented voices to the forefront. Through the Headstream Accelerator and Incubator, we are actively supporting entrepreneurs who haven’t traditionally had access to innovation accelerators or capital.

Headstream is also particularly motivated to support solutions that positively impact teens of color, teenage girls, LGBTQI+ teens. By building with these underserved communities front of mind, we believe that digital solutions will be more accessible and impactful for all communities.

For more on Headstream, visit headstreaminnovation.com and follow @HeadstreamInno on social media.

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