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The impact of algorithmic decision-making processes on young people’s well-being

Perez Vallejos, Elvira; Dowthwaite, Liz; Creswick, Helen; Portillo, Virginia; Koene, Ansgar; Jirotka, Marina; McCarthy, Amy; McAuley, Derek


Helen Creswick

Ansgar Koene

Marina Jirotka

Amy McCarthy

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Professor of Digital Economy


This study aims to capture the online experiences of young people when interacting with algorithm mediated systems and their impact on their well-being. We draw on qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (survey) data from a total of 260 young people to bring their opinions to the forefront while eliciting discussions. The results of the study revealed the young people’s positive as well as negative experiences of using online platforms. Benefits such as convenience, entertainment and personalised search results were identified. However, the data also reveals participants’ concerns for their privacy, safety and trust when online, which can have a significant impact on their well-being. We conclude by recommending that online platforms acknowledge and enact on their responsibility to protect the privacy of their young users, recognising the significant developmental milestones that this group experience during these early years, and the impact that algorithm-mediated systems may have on them. We argue that governments need to incorporate policies that require technologists and others to embed the safeguarding of users’ well-being within the core of the design of Internet products and services to improve the user experiences and psychological well-being of all, but especially those of children and young people.


Perez Vallejos, E., Dowthwaite, L., Creswick, H., Portillo, V., Koene, A., Jirotka, M., …McAuley, D. (2021). The impact of algorithmic decision-making processes on young people’s well-being. Health Informatics Journal, 27(1), 1-21.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 13, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2021
Publication Date Jan 14, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 14, 2021
Journal Health Informatics Journal
Print ISSN 1460-4582
Electronic ISSN 1741-2811
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 1
Pages 1-21
Keywords age appropriate design code; online well-being; privacy; young people; youth juries
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