30Under30 Honouree: Rebecca Stringer

Great to hear from our 2023 Global 30-under30 honouree, Rebecca Stringer, a research director at KidsKnowBest, recently completed her MSc at the Oxford Internet Institute, specialising in the social dynamics of the internet, particularly young people’s experiences.

While studying psychology at The University of Leeds, I gained a passion for research as I delved into the intricacies of cognitive development within virtual and augmented realities. My first exposure was supporting the development of enhanced cognitive training for surgeons before undertaking laparoscopic surgeries. This experience solidified my commitment to unravelling the profound intersections of psychology and innovative technologies

A pivotal moment in my career involved a collaboration with The LEGO Group to create a practical tool tailored for businesses aiming to foster meaningful child and youth participation in the digital age. This endeavour entailed working closely with 14 esteemed contributors in the field of child participation, alongside the invaluable input of 8 children who played a crucial role in informing the content of our report. Additionally, I am eagerly anticipating the co-authored pre-registered paper with the Oxford Internet Institute on the associations between adolescent well-being and use of Meta’s platforms.

Focus on researching subjects you are genuinely passionate about and 2. find out who is behind the work you admire most or are inspired by, seek out mentors or colleagues who inspire you and actively engage in their work. Continuous learning is fundamental, position yourself in environments where you are challenged and inspired by a supportive community.

Try to discern where you want to position yourself on the research spectrum. The field can feel like it offers two distinct poles – Academia vs commercial research and then all that fits in between. Understanding your preference on this spectrum will guide your career choices, ensuring alignment with your personal and professional goals and work style.

My advice for our sector as a whole is to prioritise effective communication with one another. Listening and providing constructive feedback within our diverse community is crucial. Bridging the language gap between industry and academia is essential. To propel the industry forward, we must connect the dots, embrace open-mindedness towards new research styles, data transparency and greater contribution. By fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment, we can unlock the full potential of our sector and drive meaningful progress.

I wish to express my gratitude to three key individuals. First, Pete Robinson, for introducing me to commercial research and offering invaluable support and encouragement, which has greatly influenced my career. Special thanks to Sarah Boorman, a client whose inspiration and shared goals have made our collaboration truly rewarding. Lastly, Professor Andrew Przybylski at the Oxford Internet Institute, whose guidance has profoundly shaped my professional path. I am deeply appreciative of their impact.