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

Hyperlinked increases positive perceptions of computer science careers (PRNewsfoto/Thicket Labs)

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.

“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 modelling 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 favourable 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 ( to forecast the long-term impact of social programmes on people’s perceptions, attitudes, behaviours, and choices.

Key findings from the study are available at ‘Hyperlinked’ is available for YouTube Red subscribers through YouTube and the YouTube Kids app.