Some adults assume that children blindly trust everything and everyone. However, a recent study of children’s trust in tech quickly debunks this myth.
As voice assistants and other tech tools continue to proliferate in classrooms, researchers are studying how children perceive these tools. Researchers found that children overwhelmingly trust teachers or peers over information received from voice assistants.
The “selective trust study” conducted with children in China, ages five to eight years-old, separated the children into groups and asked questions like, “How many days does it take for Mars to revolve around the sun? The children trusted their teacher’s responses over the ones from tech devices, even if the teacher’s answers were false. The kids also preferred their peers’ input over that of the internet.
Similar research demonstrated that American kids in the same age range were not only skeptical of voice assistants, but remarkably creative in their attempts to test how reliable the gadgets are. Kids asked questions about fictional creatures such as unicorns, TV characters, and Santa Claus in attempts to prove that the devices are not providing true information.
Researchers concluded that trusting another person, as opposed to a machine, is hardwired into our brains. This ingrained sense of skepticism about unknown sources seems to blur a bit as people age. Or, that’s one reading of the information.
With growing concern over fake news, phishing scams, and other cyber hacks and threats that prey on peoples’ inability to discern fact from fiction, these studies of human perception within tech are becoming increasingly important.
To learn more about human trust of tech, check out this research on Wired article.