Young Girls More Likely to Be Interested in Computer Science Careers After Watching YouTube Red Original Series 'Hyperlinked'

New study finds that positive media portrayals of girls who code increase favorable perceptions of computer science careers among viewers

YouTube Red's original series Hyperlinked

Based on a new study released today, young girls who have seen season one of YouTube Red's original series Hyperlinked are now 11 percent more likely to be interested in computer science (CS) careers than viewers who have not watched Hyperlinked. Conducted by Thicket Labs, the evaluation study was commissioned by Google and measures the factors that influence girls to choose computer science through a predictive model. The study focuses on the positive impact of Hyperlinked, a YouTube Red original series that shows a cool and diverse group of girls with sharp programming skills solving tech problems and everyday middle school issues.

Based on study findings, young girls who have seen season one of YouTube Red's original series Hyperlinked are now 11 percent more likely to be interested in computer science careers than viewers who have not watched Hyperlinked. Watching Hyperlinked is strongly associated with positive perceptions of the field of computer science and encouragement from friends — two of the four major factors that explain a young girl's decision to pursue computer science.

It's crucial for us to work with subject matter experts and leverage various perspectives in order to break down stereotypes and allow underrepresented groups to see themselves reflected in mainstream media. We look forward to creating more favorable perceptions of CS across industries and demographics as we learn from this telling research and evaluation.

Daraiha Greene

Multicultural Strategy Lead

"Because of the complex nature of a big decision like choosing a career, a predictive decision model can provide a more accurate measurement of a future choice," said Deepthi Welaratna, Founder & CEO of Thicket Labs. "The impact of Hyperlinked on the perceptions of its viewers is multifaceted and gives a clear indication of how positive media portrayals of computer science careers and girls who code have the potential to reshape the tech industry in the future."

Together with Google's Computer Science Education in Media team and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the series convened an Advisory Council, consisting of: Madeline Di Nonno (CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media), Kimberly Bryant (Founder and CEO, Black Girls CODE), Rosalind Wiseman (best selling author of Queen Bees & Wannabees), Jess Weiner (CEO, Talk to Jess LLC) and Michael Cohen Ph.D. (President, Michael Cohen Group LLC [MCG]). This team served as advisers on the series, working with the production team at every stage to make sure that girls in STEM were being portrayed accurately and that the show was modeling positive messages around girls and their relationships with each other.

"It's crucial for us to work with subject matter experts and leverage various perspectives in order to break down stereotypes and allow underrepresented groups to see themselves reflected in mainstream media," said Daraiha Greene from Google's Computer Science Education in Media team. "We look forward to creating more favorable perceptions of CS across industries and demographics as we learn from this telling research and evaluation."

"The positive messages reinforced throughout the series are resonating with the audience and it is our hope that anyone watching 'Hyperlinked' leaves inspired by the power of technology and the ways it can make a difference," said Nadine Zylstra of YouTube Red Originals.

To evaluate the impact of Hyperlinked on its viewers and test whether the show has the potential to influence underrepresented groups to pursue CS, Google's Computer Science Education team focused on media and evaluation worked with Thicket Labs to field two surveys before and after its premiere and reached a combined 998 TV viewers, out of which 623 had watched Hyperlinked on YouTube Red. The Thicket Labs evaluation model uses findings from Google's study Women Who Choose Computer Science-What Really Matters (g.co/cseduresearch) to forecast the long-term impact of social programs on people's perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and choices.

Key findings from the study are available at https://goo.gl/b19VAW. 'Hyperlinked' is available for YouTube Red subscribers through YouTube and the YouTube Kids app.

About Google's Computer Science Education team

Google believes that a more inclusive workforce leads to better products for all users, and is especially committed to reversing the negative trends around underrepresented groups in computer science (CS). Part of Google's Computer Science Education team partners with content creators and entertainment influencers to increase more inclusive portrayals of CS in media content.

About Thicket Labs

Thicket Labs is a technology and learning company that helps people learn about themselves and their world through data-driven experiences. Thicket's collaborative intelligence tools use the science of decision modeling to measure and forecast the short- and long-term impact of social programs on people's perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and choices.

Media Contact: 
Deepthi Welaratna
Phone: 415.335.0500
Email: deepthi@thicketlabs.com

Source: Thicket Labs

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Categories: Women's Issues, Television Programs, Culture

Tags: computer science, evaluation, girls, Google, Hyperlinked, Thicket Labs, YouTube


About Thicket Labs

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Thicket Labs is a technology and learning company that helps people learn about themselves and their world through data-driven experiences. Thicket's technology measures and forecasts the impact of social programs on people's perceptions and choices.

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