How to enable young teens to design responsibly

Rosella Gennari, Maristella Matera, Alessandra Melonio*, Mehdi Rizvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Smart things, such as smart watches, are popular among young teens. Designing them requires technical knowledge, concerning the inner workings of physical devices, cloud services, and their interconnectivity. Moreover, designing them responsibly means conducting diverse reflections in design. Engaging young teens in responsible smart-thing design is thus complicated and yet potentially empowering for them. Toolkits for teens can help guide them in smart-thing design and in reflecting in the process. This paper reports on the design process, based on the action-research paradigm, of the IoTgo toolkit, and it discusses the features, progressively discovered along multiple iterations of design and evaluation, that can empower young teens to design smart things while reflecting on their impact, e.g., safety concerns. The paper then concludes with lessons distilled from the insights that emerged from the analysis of the data gathered in the actions undertaken with teens during the design process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-316
Number of pages14
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Early online date7 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Action research
  • Cloud computing
  • IoT
  • Physical computing
  • Smart thing
  • Teen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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