Does Persuasive Technology Make Smartphones More Addictive? – An Empirical Study of Chinese University Students [article]

Xiaowei Chen
2021 arXiv   pre-print
With the development of computer hardware, computers with persuasion have become more powerful and influential than ever. The latest trends show that Persuasive Technology integrates with cutting-edge technologies, such as Natural Language Processing, Big Data, and Machine Learning algorithms. As persuasion is becoming increasingly intelligent and subtle, it is urgent to reflect on the dark sides of Persuasive Technology. The study aims to investigate one of Persuasive Technology's accusations,
more » ... making smartphones more addictive to its users. The study uses questionnaires and in-depth interviews to examine the impact of persuasive technologies on young smartphone users. The participants of the study are 18 to 26 years old Chinese university students. Ten interviewees were sampled randomly from the survey results. Eight interviewees shared their smartphone screen time for three consecutive weeks after the interview. Among the 183 participants, 84.70% (n=155) spend over (or equal to) four hours per day on their smartphone, 44.26% (n=81) indicate that smartphones negatively affect their studies or professional life. Ten interviewees evaluated that they could reduce screen time by 37% if they could avoid all persuasive functions. Five out of eight interviewees reduced their screen time by 16.72% three weeks after the interviews by voluntarily turning off some persuasive functions on their smartphones. This study provides empirical evidence to argue that persuasive technologies increase users' screen time and contribute to the addictive behaviours of young smartphone users. Some commonly used persuasive design principles could have negative long term impacts on users. To sum up, the ethical problems that Human-computer interaction (HCI) designers face and users' neglected rights of acknowledgement were discussed.
arXiv:2106.02604v2 fatcat:epigt3rvfnfk3jyzd3433zg7ae