FoodCHI 2017

Nov 17 - 18, 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Hilary Davis

Swinburne University of Technology, Australia


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Table Manners: Children's use of mobile technologies in family-friendly restaurants

This presentation explores findings from a small ethnographic study of children's use of technology in family-friendly restaurants during dinnertime. Using a combination of video-recorded interaction and in-depth interviews, we examine children's use of a range of devices (iPad, mobile phone, laptop, etc.) in terms of the layout of the table, the juxtaposition of artefacts, the timing of interaction around eating, and the management of behaviour or "table manners". Ultimately it is argued that children's use of mobile technology in restaurants is not merely 'digital babysitting'. Rather, mobile technology use is adeptly managed by a range of actors' including children, parents, and restaurant staff -- to facilitate a positive dining experience. We show that mobile technology use provides unforeseen opportunities for learning, game playing, and intergenerational interaction while allowing families to spend precious time together. Finally, design considerations for the restaurant industry, and for those working in HCI are offered. Uptake of these considerations might better support children's use of mobile technologies specifically, and intergenerational play generally, in family-friendly restaurants.

Short bio:

Hilary Davis is a Senior Research Fellow, in the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Living with Disability Research Centre (LIDS), La Trobe University. She is a social scientist concerned with understanding the role technologies play in peoplefs work, social activities and home lives. Her recent work has focused on the design and use of technologies to support intergenerational interaction and play, at home and in family-friendly restaurants. She is interested in the digital participation of vulnerable populations and communities including socially isolated older adults, distributed families, people living with chronic and serious illness and housebound people. She is keen on digital stories as a means for community engagement, and is working with health services generating projects in this space. Hilary has instigated a series of workshops for HCI researchers interested in this work see:

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