Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robots may need to include parental controls

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Older adults' fears that companion robots will negatively affect young people may create design challenges for developers hoping to build robots for older users, according to researchers. Companion robots provide emotional support for users and interact with them as they, for example, play a game, or watch a movie. Older adults reported in a study that while they were not likely to become physically and emotionally dependent on robots, they worried that young people might become too dependent on them.

Older adults' fears that companion robots will negatively affect young people may create design challenges for developers hoping to build robots for older users, according to Penn State researchers.

Companion robots provide emotional support for users and interact with them as they, for example, play a game, or watch a movie.

Older adults reported in a study that while they were not likely to become physically and emotionally dependent on robots, they worried that young people might become too dependent on them, said T. Franklin Waddell, a doctoral candidate in mass communications. Those surveyed also indicated that although they were not worried about being negatively affected by robots, the adults would still resist using the devices.

"We've seen this type of effect, which is usually referred to as a third-person effect, with different types of media, such as video games and television, but this is the first time we have seen the effect in robotics," said Waddell. "According to a third person effect, a person says they are not as negatively affected by the media as other people."

The researchers, who presented their findings today (April 30) at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, said this effect could eventually lead to changes in behavior. For instance, people who believe video games harm young people may tend to avoid the games themselves. Likewise, older adults who believe that companion robots could harm young people may tend to avoid robots.

To compensate for the effect, robot designers may need to consider adding controls that will help adults monitor the use of robots by children, said Waddell, who worked with S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, and Eun Hwa Jung, a doctoral candidate in mass communications.

"Robot designers and developers look at older adults as a central user base for companion robots," said Waddell. "This effect is something they should consider when designing the interface for the robots to make sure, for example, that the robot includes some type of parental controls."

Robots with parental controls may convince adults that they can own and use robots and still protect children from their fears that the devices might lead to laziness and dependency.

The researchers studied two types of robots: companion robots and assistant robots, said Sundar. Assistant robots are devices that help with everyday tasks, such as vacuuming the floor or playing a CD, he said, while companion robots are more interactive.

This interactivity may be one reason that users tend to attach human-like emotions to companion robots, Waddell said.

"A companion robot provides the user with a source of friendship," said Waddell. "They might watch TV with the participant, provide emotional support, or complete an activity with the user."

Waddell said the participants did not seem to show the same level of apprehensions about assistant robots.

Researchers asked 640 retirees over the age of 60 -- 53 percent female and 47 percent male -- about whether robots would have negative effects on themselves and on others. For instance, they asked the subjects whether robots would make them lazier and encourage them to interact less often with other people. They then asked similar questions about the effects of robots on young people.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by Matt Swayne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Robots may need to include parental controls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133137.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, April 30). Robots may need to include parental controls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133137.htm
Penn State. "Robots may need to include parental controls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430133137.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Facebook earnings beat forecasts- with revenue climbing 61 percent. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) eBay's StubHub is caught up in an international cyber crime ring stretching from North America to Europe. Conway G. Gittens reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins