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Creators/Authors contains: "Lipford, Heather"

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  1. We conducted 26 co-design interviews with 50 smarthome device owners to understand the perceived benefits, drawbacks, and design considerations for developing a smarthome system that facilitates co-monitoring with emergency contacts who live outside of one’s home. Participants felt that such a system would help ensure their personal safety, safeguard from material loss, and give them peace of mind by ensuring quick response and verifying potential threats. However, they also expressed concerns regarding privacy, overburdening others, and other potential threats, such as unauthorized access and security breaches. To alleviate these concerns, participants designed flexible and granular access control and fail-safe back-up features. Our study reveals why peer-based co-monitoring of smarthomes for emergencies may be beneficial but also difficult to implement. Based on the insights gained from our study, we provide recommendations for designing technologies that facilitate such co-monitoring while mitigating its risks. 
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  2. We conducted a user study with 19 parent-teen dyads to understand the perceived benefits and drawbacks of using a mobile app that allows them to co-manage mobile privacy, safety, and security within their families. While the primary goal of the study was to understand the use case as it pertained to parents and teens, an emerging finding from our study was that participants found value in extending app use to other family members (siblings, cousins, and grandparents). Participants felt that it would help bring the necessary expertise into their immediate family network and help protect the older adults and children of the family from privacy and security risks. However, participants expressed that co-monitoring by extended family members might cause tensions in their families, creating interpersonal conflicts. To alleviate these concerns, participants suggested more control over the privacy features to facilitate sharing their installed apps with only trusted family members. 
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  3. The COVID-19 pandemic led the majority of educational institutions to rapidly shift to primarily conducting courses through online, remote delivery. Across different institutions, the tools used for synchronous online course delivery varied. They included traditional video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and WebEx as well as non-traditional tools like Gather.Town, Gatherly, and YoTribe. The main distinguishing characteristic of these nontraditional tools is their utilization of 2-D maps to create virtual meeting spaces that mimic real-world spaces. In this work, we aim to explore how such tools are perceived by students in the context of learning. Our intuition is that utilizing a tool that features a 2-D virtual space that resembles a real world classroom has underlying benefits compared to the more traditional video conferencing tools. The results of our study indicate that students' perception of using a 2-D virtual classroom improved their interaction, collaboration and overall satisfaction with an online learning experience. 
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  4. Our research aims to highlight and alleviate the complex tensions around online safety, privacy, and smartphone usage in families so that parents and teens can work together to better manage mobile privacy and security-related risks. We developed a mobile application ("app") for Community Oversight of Privacy and Security ("CO-oPS") and had parents and teens assess whether it would be applicable for use with their families. CO-oPS is an Android app that allows a group of users to co-monitor the apps installed on one another's devices and the privacy permissions granted to those apps. We conducted a study with 19 parent-teen (ages 13-17) pairs to understand how they currently managed mobile safety and app privacy within their family and then had them install, use, and evaluate the CO-oPS app. We found that both parents and teens gave little consideration to online safety and privacy before installing new apps or granting privacy permissions. When using CO-oPS, participants liked how the app increased transparency into one another's devices in a way that facilitated communication, but were less inclined to use features for in-app messaging or to hide apps from one another. Key themes related to power imbalances between parents and teens surfaced that made co-management challenging. Parents were more open to collaborative oversight than teens, who felt that it was not their place to monitor their parents, even though both often believed parents lacked the technological expertise to monitor themselves. Our study sheds light on why collaborative practices for managing online safety and privacy within families may be beneficial but also quite difficult to implement in practice. We provide recommendations for overcoming these challenges based on the insights gained from our study. 
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  5. Managing digital privacy and security is often a collaborative process, where groups of individuals work together to share information and give one another advice. Yet, this collaborative process is not always reciprocal or equally shared. In many cases, individuals with more expertise help others without receiving help in return. Therefore, we studied the phenomenon of "Tech Caregiving" by surveying 20 groups (112 individuals) comprised of friends, family members, and/or co-workers who identified at least one member of their group as a someone who provides informal technical support to the people they know. We found that tech caregivers reported significantly higher levels of power use and self-efficacy for digital privacy and security, compared to tech caregivees. However, caregivers and caregivees did not differ based on their self-reportedcommunity collective-efficacy for collaboratively managing privacy and security together as a group. This finding demonstrates the importance of tech caregiving and community belonging in building community collective efficacy for digital privacy and security. We also found that caregivers and caregivees most often communicated via text message or phone when coordinating support, which was most frequently needed when troubleshooting or setting up new devices. Meanwhile, discussions specific to privacy and security represented only a small fraction of the issues for which participants gave or received tech care. Thus, we conclude that educating tech caregivers on how to provide privacy and security-focused support, as well as designing technologies that facilitate such support, has the potential to create positive networks effects towards the collective management of digital privacy and security. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Older adults are increasingly becoming adopters of digital technologies, such as smartphones; however, this population remains particularly vulnerable to digital privacy and security threats. To date, most research on technology used among older adults focuses on helping individuals overcome their discomfort or lack of expertise with technology to protect them from such threats. Instead, we are interested in how communities of older adults work together to collectively manage their digital privacy and security. To do this, we surveyed 67 individuals across two older adult communities (59 older adults and eight employees or volunteers) and found that the community's collective efficacy for privacy and security was significantly correlated with the individuals' self-efficacy, power usage of technology, and their sense of community belonging. Community collective efficacy is a group's mutual belief in its ability to achieve a shared goal. Using social network analysis, we further unpacked these relationships to show that many older adults interact with others who have similar technological expertise, and closer-knit older adult communities that have low technology expertise (i.e., low power usage and self-efficacy) may increase their community collective efficacy for privacy and security by embedding facilitators (e.g., employees or volunteers) who have more technical expertise within their communities. Our work demonstrates how both peer influence and outside expertise can be leveraged to support older adults in managing their digital privacy and security. 
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