In the best families: tracking and relationships

Mancini, Clara; Rogers, Yvonne; Thomas, Keerthi; Joinson, Adam; Price, Blaine; Bandara, Arosha; Jedrzejczyk, Lukasz and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2011). In the best families: tracking and relationships. In: 29th International ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM CHI 2011, 07-12 May 2011, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 2419–2428.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/1978942.1979296

URL: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1978942.1979296

Abstract

A growing body of research has been exploring the use of control mechanisms to address the privacy concerns raised by location-tracking technology. We report on a qualitative study of two family groups who used a custom-built tracking application for an extended period of time. Akin to sociological breaching experiments, the study focuses on the interferences between location tracking and relationship management. We analyze the tensions that can arise between affordances of the technology and uses that the contracts between family members legitimize. We describe how, by fostering misperceptions and ‘nudging’ behaviors, location-tracking technology can generate anxieties and conflicts even in close relationships. We discuss their vulnerability to the overreaching effects of tracking, against which the use of mechanisms such as location-sharing preferences and feedback may not be socially viable.

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