skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on June 19, 2024

Title: Family Theories in Child-Robot Interactions: Understanding Families as a Whole for Child-Robot Interaction Design
In this work, we discuss a theoretically motivated family-centered design approach for child-robot interactions, adapted by Family Systems Theory (FST) and Family Ecological Model (FEM). Long-term engagement and acceptance of robots in the home is influenced by factors that surround the child and the family, such as child-sibling-parent relationships and family routines, rituals, and values. A family-centered approach to interaction design is essential when developing in-home technology for children, especially for social agents like robots with which they can form connections and relationships. We review related literature in family theories and connect it with child-robot interaction and child-computer interaction research. We present two case studies that exemplify how family theories, FST and FEM, can inform the integration of robots into homes, particularly research into child-robot and family-robot interaction. Finally, we pose five overarching recommendations for a family-centered design approach in child-robot interactions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IDC '23: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ACM Interaction Design and Children Conference
Page Range / eLocation ID:
367 to 374
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Child-robot interactions in educational, developmental, and health domains are widely explored, but little is known about how families perceive the presence of a social robot in their home environment and its participation in day-to-day activities. To close this gap, we conducted a participatory design (PD) study with six families, with children aged 10--12, to examine how families perceive in-home social robots participating in shared activities. Our analysis identified three main themes: (1) the robot can have a range of roles in the home as a companion or as an assistant; (2) family members have different preferences for how they would like to interact with the robot in group or personal interactions; and (3) families have privacy, confidentiality, and ethical concerns regarding a social robot's presence in the home. Based on these themes and existing literature, we provide guidelines for the future interaction design of in-home social robots for children. 
    more » « less
  2. Robot-mediated interventions are one promising and novel approach for encouraging motor exploration in young children, but knowledge about the effectiveness of toy-like features for child-robot interaction is limited. We were interested in understanding the characteristics of current toys to inform the design of interactive abilities for assistive robots. This work first provides a systematic review of toy characteristics in n=154 Fisher-Price products and then analyzes the effectiveness of common and uncommon toy-like behaviors from our custom assistive robot. Toy review results showed that light and sound features were significantly more common than bubbles, wheels, and self-propulsion. Exploratory play sessions with our assistive robot showed that bubbles were significantly more successful at encouraging child motion than other robot behaviors. Further, all studied robot behaviors demonstrated the capability to encourage child motion. The products of this work can inform the efforts of human-robot interaction and child development experts who study child mobility interventions. 
    more » « less
  3. Research in child-robot interactions suggests that engaging in “care-taking” of a social robot, such as tucking the robot in at night, can strengthen relationships formed between children and robots. In this work, we aim to better understand and explore the design space of caretaking activities with 10 children, aged 8–12 from eight families, involving an exploratory design session followed by a preliminary feasibility testing of robot caretaking activities. The design sessions provided insight into children’s current caretaking tasks, how they would take care of a social robot, and how these new caretaking activities could be integrated into their daily routines. The feasibility study tested two different types of robot caretaking tasks, which we call connection and utility, and measured their short term effects on children’s perceptions of and closeness to the social robot. We discuss the themes and present interaction design guidelines of robot caretaking activities for children. 
    more » « less
  4. Background: There are 4.9 million English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States. Only 2% of educators are trained to support these vulnerable students. Social robots show promise for language acquisition and may provide valuable support for students, especially as we return to needing smaller classes due to COVID-19. While cultural responsiveness increases gains for ELLs, little is known about the design of culturally responsive child–robot interactions. Method: Therefore, using a participatory design approach, we conducted an exploratory study with 24 Spanish-speaking ELLs at a Pacific Northwest elementary school. As cultural informants, students participated in a 15-min, robot-led, small group story discussion followed by a post-interaction feedback session. We then conducted reflexive critiques with six ELL teachers who reviewed the group interactions to provide further interpretation on design feature possibilities and potential interactions with the robot. Results: Students found the social robot engaging, but many were hesitant to converse with the robot. During post-interaction dialogue students articulated the specific ways in which the social robot appearance and behavior could be modified to help them feel more comfortable. Teachers postulated that the social robot could be designed to engage students in peer-to-peer conversations. Teachers also recognized the ELLs verbosity when discussing their experiences with the robot and suggested such interactions could stimulate responsiveness from students. Conclusion: Cultural responsiveness is a key component to successful education in ELLs. However, integrating appropriate, cultural responsiveness into robot interactions may require participants as cultural informants to ensure the robot behaviors and interactions are situated in that educational community. Utilizing a participatory approach to engage ELLs in design decisions for social robots is a promising way to gather culturally responsive requirements to inform successful child–robot interactions. 
    more » « less
  5. Social robots have recently been gaining attention in the education field. Given their capabilities, researchers can use social robots in various ways that support human-robot interactions. In this paper, we present an interactive cybersecurity education program to teach children about foundation cybersecurity concepts using a social robot. To create child-robot interactions in cybersecurity education, we devised three processes. First, in collaboration with practicing teachers we developed an interactive story to support student engagement and learning of cybersecurity concepts. Second, we prototyped animations for the story on the social robot. Third, we use a mixed-methods approach to pilot test our cybersecurity education program. Our research highlights the potential of social robot use in education, both for child-robot interaction and K-12 cybersecurity education. 
    more » « less