As part of the ACM SIGCHI 2018 conference, INIT Lab director Lisa Anthony helped co-organize a ‘special interest group’ (SIG) session on child-computer interaction. This SIG is organized by some of the child-computer interaction research community every year. This year, the topic was “Ubiquity and Big Data“: how do we design technology for children in an era of “big data” in which their online activities from an extremely early age may be being monitored, archived, evaluated, and judged? The issue is complex, since parents, schools, and other stakeholders may find beneficial reasons for monitoring and tracking their children’s activities, especially in cases of bullying, self-harm, or risky behaviors; but what are the last impacts of such technologies when the children grow up and already have a digital footprint not of their own making? How do we empower children to own their own online identities but still provide a safe space for growth and learning?
As a result of this SIG, many of the attendees of the event decided to write up a summary of the topics of discussion and submit it to the ACM interactions magazine. It has just recently appeared in the November-December 2018 issue, in the magazine’s forum on “Universal Interactions”. Check out the full article here (available in PDF or HTML format). The article presents the topics of discussion and some insights the SIG attendees came up with, especially the fact that education and transparency are critical values to keep in mind when pushing forward into this space. It is our hope that the article will launch further discussion and awareness of these topics among researchers, educators, designers, and parents.