From browsing to behaviour change: How digital interventions influence offline change amongst adolescent girls

New research from Girl Effect and think tank New Knowledge explores the many ways online interventions influence and change behaviour.

The study, featured in a webinar by Devex, set out to answer pressing questions about digital work, including what content is effective and how it inspires change on and offline, what best practice looks like, how digital speeds up the pace of change, and how to measure effects.

Girl Effect unearthed numerous insights into how digital interventions work and what works best, along with more surprising findings such as the impact on silent users or ‘lurkers’, and how avatars and profile photos can prompt change. 

Read on for ten facts about digital interventions and behaviour change:

1. Online interventions can help young people explore their identity, including their sexual identity, in safe, informative and non-judgemental spaces.

2. In areas where people are fatigued from constant messaging, such as communities affected by HIV, digital interventions can still drive change.

3. Social networks can and do actively encourage and support behaviour change offline.

4. The avatar a young person chooses for online games can inspire and influence their behaviour and identity offline. 

5. Girls’ confidence can be built and boosted through blogging and online writing, and as they become free to express themselves they can and should be involved in curating content. 

6. Magazines and other forms of online content can help promote social justice and challenge stereotypical notions of gender.

7. Silent users, also known as ‘lurkers’ get as much, and often more, support and help from online interventions as active users.

8. Digital interventions can be effective for up to four months before reminders and follow-up messages are needed.

9. Interventions have to reflect the needs of the culture in which they are targeted, to succeed.

10. Any intervention has to address the norms of the community as a whole, not just the girl. For example gender interventions must involve engaging boys and men in issues around masculinity.

The findings of the study will be used to help Girl Effect support and measure behaviour change through our mobile platform Springster and other digital tools.

For any queries about the report, please email info@girleffect.org

Watch the full Devex webinar. 

Download a full copy of From browsing to behaviour change below. 


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