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Disrespectful Technologies: Social Norm Conflicts in Digital Worlds

Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC,volume 794)


Social norms are the informal understandings that govern the behavior within a society and are crucial for the feeling of togetherness and social cohesion. However, technology-mediated behavior often stands in conflict (e.g., parallel smartphone use undermining the norm of full attention for the conversation partner). Under the umbrella term ‘disrespectful technologies’, the present research discusses potential conflicts between technology use and social norms. We present four general types of frequent social norm conflicts, illustrate these by examples from research in different fields of HCI and a user survey, and discuss possibilities to address these in design. Altogether, we see the integration of social norm considerations in the user centered design approach as a long-term goal in HCI, with important consequences on an individual and societal level.


  • Technology-mediated behavior
  • Social interaction
  • Social norms
  • Social conflict
  • Disrespectful technologies

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Part of this research has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), project Kommunikado (FKZ: 01IS15040D).

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Correspondence to Sarah Diefenbach .

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Diefenbach, S., Ullrich, D. (2019). Disrespectful Technologies: Social Norm Conflicts in Digital Worlds. In: Ahram, T., Falcão, C. (eds) Advances in Usability, User Experience and Assistive Technology. AHFE 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 794. Springer, Cham.

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