Bad/unethical actors on the Internet increasingly use techniques which we can refer to as “dark patterns”. Such patterns seek to manipulate users to purchase goods or subscriptions, spend more time on a site, or mindlessly accept the harvesting of their personal data. Computer users are often unaware of the manipulative techniques they are likely to encounter as they often operate under the human conscious radar to exert their influence. Young learners are also being targeted by these techniques, and they are especially vulnerable to these tactics as they enter adolescence (before they develop the skills to protect and defend themselves).
Awareness raising interventions forewarn and forearm but work best when they start from a sound understanding of existing mental models. This project aims to reveal young learners’ existing mental models of dark patterns. We will then design an intervention grounded in and informed by these mental models, which will aim to raise awareness and forearm young learners to help them to resist online manipulative techniques.
Call for Events is now open! We're supporting Members and Expert Fellows to lead activities that explore aspects of TIPS in the Digital Economy. We will help to organise the activity with up to £5,000 to cover the associated costs.