Parent and Child Expectations of Family Technology Use

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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Recent research by HCDE PhD student Alexis Hiniker, HCDE Professor Julie Kientz, and University of Michigan Professor Sarita Schoenebeck looks at the increasing prevalence of technology use in family life. In a survey of parent-child pairs across the United States, the team discovered what types of internet and smartphone rules families are establishing, and how easy or difficult the rules are for both parents and children to follow.

The findings show that both parents and children agree that parents should limit their technology use during family time, while children alone wish parents didn’t post photos and videos of them online without their permission. Both parents and children have difficulty following household rules, but children found rules easier to follow when they were developed as a family and parents followed them too. The findings also suggest that if a child has a hard time following the rules around a particular technology, the more effective solution – for both parent and child – is to ban the app or website altogether, rather than setting boundaries on its use.

The researchers point out that existing device supports for family technology rules primarily address activity constraints. Their results uncover opportunities for technology designers to better integrate context constraints in their products.

This study was presented at the 2016 Association for Computing Machinery’s conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in San Francisco. A full story – including the list of rules that children wished their parents follow – is featured on UW Today: Family technology rules: What kids expect of parents.

Read the full story on UW Today »


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