Smart toys and Alexa-driven parenting

Smart toys and Alexa-driven parenting 2020-01-15T12:56:14+00:00

Smart toys and Alexa-driven parenting: how to promote mental health with digital technologies?

Thursday 30th January, 2pm

MVB room 0.3

Petr Slovak
Can digital technologies deliver prevention interventions  — i.e promote psychological resilience of those at risk and lower the occurrence of mental illness later in life? While this is not a question commonly asked within HCI so far, research in Prevention Science suggest that such programs could have strong impacts on life outcomes, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Traditional interventions are substantially limited in scope and cost-effectiveness by relying on delivery techniques and intervention mechanisms that have been around since the 60s: teaching experiential skills in class or a workshop, by a trained human. By way of analogy, this is similar to delivering skiing lessons indoors through role-play and video, and then expecting learners to be ready to immediately apply newly acquired skills on black slopes, with no additional support.
In this talk, I will outline our work across a range of contexts (emotion-regulation, conflict resolution, parenting) to offer an alternative approach based on ‘situating’ the intervention support and learning directly into everyday moments where the targeted skills are needed. I will illustrate these conceptual arguments through our on-going ‘Smart Toy’ project, where an emotion regulation intervention is delivered to children through a technology-enabled plush toy — the research prototype of which is now being commercialised by Committee for Children (non-profit developers of a social-emotional program used in 30% of US schools). This research suggest the potential of emerging technologies (and careful socio-technical design) to re-imagine how prevention interventions are designed, delivered, and evaluated.
Bio 
Petr Slovak is an Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at King’s College London, where he is a member of the Human-Centred Computing group. He also holds an Honorary Research Fellow position at Evidence-Based Practice Unit at UCL and a Visiting position at the Human-Centred Computing group at Oxford University. His research is focused on envisioning, designing, and evaluating new technology-enabled mental health interventions; and has received ACM Best Paper awards at CHI and CSCW. Petr was recognised as a Schroedinger Fellow by the Austrian Science Fund, and was the DOC Fellow of the Austrian Science Academy during his PhD. He holds two bachelor’s (Psychology/Sociology and Theoretical Computer Science) and a master’s degree (Parallel and Distributed Systems) all from Masaryk University; and a PhD in Human Computer Interaction from TU Wien, supervised by Prof Geraldine Fitzpatrick.

Forthcoming Seminars

Petr Slovak – 30th January
Smart toys and Alexa-driven parenting

Previous Seminars

Prof Markus Löchtefeld – 9th January
Prototyping Transparent and Flexible Electrochromic Displays
Emilie Giles – 14th February
Weaving Lighthouses and Stitching Stories
Michael Proulx – 28th February
The role of visual experience for spatial cognition
Alan Dix – 17th January
Sufficient Reason: Machine Learning Bias and the Artificial Intelligence Explainability Toolkit
Marc Teyssier – 3rd December at 2-3pm
Robotics-augmented Smartphones
Duncan Brumby – 29th November at 1-2pm
Reflections on the Value of HCI Research Training
Audrey Girouard – 25th October at 1-2pm
Deformable user interactions: techniques and applications
Joel Eaton – 6th September 1-2pm
Building creative systems for users with severe motor disabilities
Marcos Serrano and Sandra Bardot – 10th July, 11-12pm
Facilitating interaction with large data spaces: novel devices and non-visual techniques