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4 posts tagged with "digital wellbeing"

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· 2 min read
Alberto Monge Roffarello
Assistant Professor

The workshop Digital Wellbeing for Teens - Designing Educational Systems (DIGI-Teens), to be held on June 3-4, 2024, at Arenzano, Italy is currently accepting contributions!

DIGI-Teens is an AVI 2024 workshop that aims to establish a venue for the academic and industrial communities to discuss ongoing research and ideas at the intersection of digital wellbeing and education, aiming to promote the development of strategies and tools to "teach" users – particularly children and teenagers – to use technology more meaningfully and consciously.

screenshot of the DIGI-Teens workshop website

· 3 min read
Alberto Monge Roffarello
Assistant Professor

People nowadays have access to Digital Self-Control Tools (DSCTs) that can help them manage their technology use. These tools offer features such as timers and the ability to disable distracting functionalities like recommendations and newsfeeds. However, researchers have identified several limitations with existing DSCTs, ranging from theoretical gaps to an overreliance on users' self-monitoring abilities.

In our work, we tried to overcome such limits and effectively support people in regaining control over smartphone use in the long term, focusing on teaching users how to relate better with technology, so that they can break unwanted smartphone habits and establish alternative behaviors without being forced to use a supportive tool forever.

Specifically, we designed, implemented, and evaluated StepByStep, a novel mobile DSCT that proactively assists users in learning how to regulate smartphone use.

Some screenshots from the StepByStep app

By monitoring user's behavior, the app suggests new personalized learning paths composed of adaptable and continuously variable interventions to reduce and change unwanted behaviors with the smartphone. These paths can be at phone or app-level, and may be used to shape different behaviors, from avoiding using the smartphone in specific circumstances to using an app for an established amount of time. The main idea behind a learning path, in particular, is to progressively reduce the degree of support of the tool - i.e., the intensity of the associated intervention - based on user's achievements, until the user acquires a sufficient level of independence, i.e., it is able to sustain the new behavior without the help of the tool. To this end, StepByStep follows a gamification approach through which the intensity of an intervention is divided into four different levels. Users can gain points and advance in levels, i.e., by receiving less support, if they consistently respect the intervention with its current intensity for a sufficient amount of time. However, they can also lose points and downgrade to previous levels, i.e., by receiving more support, if they consistently fail to respect the intervention with its current intensity.

· 4 min read
Alberto Monge Roffarello
Assistant Professor

The last few years have seen the flourishing of Digital Self-Control Tools (DSCTs) both in academia and as off-the-shelf products. These tools allow users to self-regulate their technology use. The two screenshots, for example, are taken from Apple Screen Time, an app available on every iOS smartphone. It allows users to monitor time spent and smartphone pickups, with the possibility of defining interventions like usage timers and lock-out mechanisms for specific applications.

Screen Time app on iPhones

While these emerging technologies for behavior change hold great promise to support people’s digital wellbeing, we still have a limited understanding of their real effectiveness, as well as of how to best design and evaluate them.

To close these gaps, we conducted a systematic literature review and a meta-analysis of current work on tools for digital self-control. Our analysis was published on the ACM Trasactions on Computer-Human Interaction, and surfaced motivations, strategies, design choices, and challenges that characterize the design, development, and evaluation of DSCTs.

· 5 min read
Alberto Monge Roffarello
Assistant Professor

On April 26, 2023, Alberto presented the paper "Defining and Identifying Attention Capture Damaging Patterns in Digital Interfaces" in the "Digital Wellbeing" session at ACM CHI 2023, the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. The paper is a collaboration between the e-Lite group and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Santa Clara University, CA (USA).

Our work is motivated by the growing public discussion and research attention on the negative aspects of overusing technology. We all know that digital services like social media and video games often capture us, even against our will. In the paper, we investigated how these digital services can capture our attention so much and, in particular, if this attention-capture can be created by design.