A road block

Insights: Maintain privacy needs

We have produced this four part guide hoping that the insights we have gained from working with young people can benefit others. As a charity not a commercial organisation, we want to share what we have learned. If we can help you add value to your own digital products through sharing what we have learned about what young people want from digital products, we are keen to do so. The insights from the young people who have steered our process can benefit anyone developing products or services for young people. Find all the insights on the My Best Life homepage.

Young people told us they would feel uncomfortable sharing personal data, including their name, address, home phone number and email address. By contrast, they would not mind sharing their likes and dislikes or their level of education (school, university, or apprenticeship) with an app. The majority did not want to be identifiable. We do not ask young people to give us their name or contact details in the My Best Life app.

The amount of information young people would share about their mental or physical health depended on the context, who referred them to the app, and their own personal preference. Some young people disliked sharing “personal experiences” and would only feel comfortable opening up to certain people rather than apps. Others seemed happy answering questions about their mental or physical health, especially if they knew they would not be talking to a person so no one would be judging them. However, if the questions seemed random, they would not feel comfortable answering them.

I would be disincentivised if I had to apply, give out my email account, etc and would go somewhere else to get my information.

Young person steering group member

Example: Geolocation

Some young people wanted geolocation as a feature of the app, but they did not want to share their location or postcode. We instead offered the choice to input their ward or an area within the borough as a tick-box option within the filter. The value young people placed on privacy outweighed the wish for a geolocation feature.

Example: Confidentiality

Young people wondered if anyone would find out about what they had said in the app. A few young people had an expectation that the organisation they had been signposted to would know about the information they had shared with My Best Life. Young people want to know where their information is going and who is going to find out that they have been looking for help about something.

I wouldn’t want my friends and family to know. Online it is quite anonymous, so not everyone has to know what’s going on in my life and is online is easier.

Young person steering group member

Some people might only feel comfortable opening up to certain people, so they might not feel comfortable answering questions about things like that [anxiety and stress] … So if there are options that make the person uncomfortable, then it might put them off answering the questions.

User tester