‘We’re not that gullible!’ Revealing dark pattern mental models of 11-12 year-old Scottish children

Article


Renaud, K., Sengal, C., Coopamootoo, K., Clift, B., Taylor, J., Springett, M. and Morrison, B 2024. ‘We’re not that gullible!’ Revealing dark pattern mental models of 11-12 year-old Scottish children. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. https://doi.org/10.1145/3660342
TypeArticle
Title‘We’re not that gullible!’ Revealing dark pattern mental models of 11-12 year-old Scottish children
AuthorsRenaud, K., Sengal, C., Coopamootoo, K., Clift, B., Taylor, J., Springett, M. and Morrison, B
Abstract

Deceptive techniques known as dark patterns specifically target online users. Children are particularly vulnerable as they might lack the skills to recognise and resist these deceptive attempts. To be effective, interventions to forewarn and forearm should build on a comprehensive understanding of children’s existing mental models. To this end, we carried out a study with 11-12 year old Scottish children to reveal their mental models of dark patterns. They were acutely aware of online deception, referring to deployers as being ‘up to no good’. Yet, they were overly vigilant and construed worst-case outcomes, with even a benign warning triggering suspicion. We recommend that rather than focusing on specific instances of dark patterns in awareness raising, interventions should prioritise improving children’s understanding of the characteristics of, and the motivations behind, deceptive online techniques. By so doing, we can help them to develop a more robust defence against these deceptive practices.

Sustainable Development Goals4 Quality education
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
PublisherACM
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
ISSN1073-0516
Electronic1557-7325
Publication dates
Online23 Apr 2024
Publication process dates
Submitted23 Mar 2023
Accepted11 Feb 2024
Deposited13 May 2024
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Copyright Statement

For the purpose of open access, the authors have applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any
Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1145/3660342
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