Designers of children's technology are often more interested in user motivation than those who design systems for adults. Since children's technology often has aims such as education or practice, keeping the user engaged and interested is an important objective. The Media Equation -the idea that people respond socially to computers - shows potential for improving engagement and motivation. Studies have shown that people are more positive about both themselves and the computer when software exhibits certain social characteristics. To explore the possible value of the Media Equation as a design concept for children's software, we replicated two of the original Media Equation studies, concerning the effects of praise and team formation. Our results, however, were contrary to our expectations: we did not find evidence that children were significantly affected by social characteristics in software, and adults were influenced in only a few cases. These results raise questions about using the Media Equation as a design principle for children's software. Copyright 2005 ACM.

Additional Metadata
Keywords CASA, Children's technology, Media Equation
Conference CHI 2005: Technology, Safety, Community - Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Citation
Chiasson, S, & Gutwin, C. (Carl). (2005). Testing the media equation with children. In CHI 2005: Technology, Safety, Community: Conference Proceedings - Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 829–838).