Current Project: Family Communication and Technology

Families play an important role in determining how individuals socialize or relate to one another. Recent advances in information and communication technologies – think computers, mobile devices, gaming, and ubiquitous internet access – have changed the ways families operate. New technologies like virtual reality, including some designed especially for families like Amazon Echo and Jibo, could change these dynamics even further. These technologies mean that it’s critical to understand how and why these changes occur, and how technologies can maximize benefits for individuals, families, and society. ​

Currently, we’re focusing on a project called Parenting Practices in the Digital Age. This project aims to understand how parents create and enforce technology-related rules in their homes, and how teenagers perceive and respond to those rules.

We’ve begun initial exploration into how smart devices, including social agents like Amazon Alexa, are used in family or home environments.

Purington, A., Taft, J. G., Sannon, S., Bazarova, N. N., & Taylor, S. H. (2017). Alexa is my new BFF: Social roles, user satisfaction, and personification of the Amazon Echo. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’17).