Why do kids find certain gadgets 'creepy'?

Researchers have found that children often use the word “creepy” as a way to reject specific devices — especially those that could bring about physical harm or come in the way of their relationship with parents.

The results of the study could be used to make technology that tricks kids into a false sense of security.

But it is more important to have these results available to the public to help parents talk to their kids about technology and any types of fears that might arise, said the study.

The research team conducted four separate design sessions to see if children felt similarly about creepy technology.

The study, presented at the 2019 ACM CHI conference in Glasgow, Scotland, found five aspects of emerging technologies that could contribute to this feeling of ambiguity — deception versus transparency, ominous physical appearance, lack of control, unpredictability and mimicry. “All five themes are related to ambiguous threats. It’s a not specific monstrosity coming after them here like when something is scary; it’s more nuanced so that they’re not sure of the consequences of their actions,” said Jason Yip, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in the US.