University of Maryland

SOUPS 2018 Designathon: Call for Participants

We invite submissions to participate in our full-day designathon workshop,” Designing Privacy and Security Tools for Children and Teenagers” to be held at the annual SOUPS conference, August 12, 2018, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. See below for more details on the workshop and a link to submit your statement of interest (or go straight to the form now).

Extended Submission Deadline: June 1, 2018 | Notification of Acceptance: June 9, 2018

Quick Links: Workshop Goals  |  Organizers  |  Workshop Schedule  |  Attend the Workshop

Goal of the designathon

Children are avid users of digital tools, and many of today’s most popular games and apps are designed for younger audiences. Likewise, elementary and secondary education increasingly relies on digital tools, from learning management systems to educational games. However, we have not seen an increased focus on privacy and security education accompanying this push for technology use. Therefore, we hope to bring together privacy and security researchers and practitioners to explore opportunities for creating tools and technologies that help young people develop competencies in privacy and security management. We will describe, discuss, and demonstrate participatory design (PD) methodologies, which focus on working with the end-users as design partners, to better understand what they want and why some solutions are more likely to succeed while others fail.

The designathon will bring together researchers and practitioners conducting work with children of all ages, which we group into three age ranges: young children (elementary aged, ages 5-9), tweens (middle schoolers, ages 10-13), and teens (high school, ages 14-17). The workshop will focus largely on hands-on work in small groups to brainstorm research ideas, new tools, and map out study protocols. This will serve three goals:

  1. to introduce researchers and practitioners to various ways of partnering with children using PD and co-design techniques
  2. to network with other researchers/practitioners working in the same space, facilitating opportunities for future collaborations, and
  3. to share resources with other researchers to help them pursue future research projects with children.

Who is organizing the workshop?

This workshop is being organized by [pictured left to right above]: Jessica Vitak, Priya Kumar, Tammy Clegg, and Beth Bonsignore from the University of Maryland; Marshini Chetty from Princeton University; and Pamela Wisniewski from the University of Central Florida.

The organizers are a diverse group of female academics from three universities who study privacy and security, as well as expertise in PD and co-design with children. Several are members of PEARL (the Privacy, Education & Research Lab at UMD). Dr. Bonsignore is the current director of Kidsteam, a research group established in 1998 as part of UMD’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and well-known for its research and design work with kids. Drs. Chetty, Clegg, and Vitak, along with PhD student Kumar are conducting a Google-funded research project on enhancing privacy and security among younger children and better connecting curriculum, attitudes and behaviors across parents, children, and educators. Dr. Wisniewski‘s research focuses on how parents and teens communicate about technology use, and looks to create better solutions to reduce risky behaviors and encourage more productive conversations.

What should I expect if I attend?

Note: A detailed schedule of the workshop can be found here.

At the workshop, we will begin with introductions and discussion of the main goals. Then, we will spend time discussing and demoing PD methods and examples of PD in action. We will invite adult members from UMD/HCIL’s Kidsteam to share their experiences working with children across a variety of design topics over the last two decades. We will also have a Q&A session for participants to learn from Kidsteam’s 20+ years of working with child design partners.

Next will be breakout sessions, with the goal to identify a research question specific to each population (young, tweens, teens) that could be addressed through PD and to design a research protocol. Each group will have an organizer join them, and they will demonstrate techniques used with children to facilitate the brainstorming process.

In the afternoon, each group will share their research design ideas with the full group and get feedback on the project. We will conclude by discussing challenges regarding data collection and analysis with children, including protecting research participants’ personally identifiable information; recruitment, consent and assent collection; ethical considerations; and longitudinal data collection with a cohort of child design partners.

How can I participate?

We are not requiring position paper submissions. Instead, we encourage people who would like to participate in this workshop to submit a short (1-page max) statement of interest in the designathon topic, including (but not limited to):

  1. The overarching research question(s) they are most interested in pursuing through PD research with children and/or teenagers.
  2. The age group they think would best fit their research goals.
  3. Their experience (if any) with PD and/or working with children (having no prior experience is perfectly fine as this workshop is intended to share knowledge and expertise with others).
  4. A short bio/background statement.

Submit through this Google Form

The Google Form also asks you to submit your current status and affiliation (e.g., grad student, faculty, industry) and if would like to be considered for a workshop waiver. SOUPS charges $150 for workshop participation and we may be able to offer waivers to a small number of participants.

Evaluating Submissions: We hope to be able to accommodate all participants who would like to attend the workshop. However, if submissions exceed the workshop’s capacity, we will prioritize invitations based on the following criteria:

The (new and extended) submission deadline is June 1, 2o18. We will notify those accepted to participate in the workshop by June 9, 2018.


If you have any questions about the designathon, contact Jessica Vitak with any questions about the workshop. Include “SOUPS 2018 designathon” in the subject line.