Raising Robotic Natives?

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  • Title: Raising Robotic Natives?: Persuasive Potentials of Social Robots in Early Education
  • Author(s): Scarlet Siebert, Nils Tolksdorf, Katharina Rohlfing, Isabel Zorn
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Communication and Media Studies
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Communication and Media Studies
  • Keywords: Child-Robot Interaction, Early Education, Ethics, Social Robots, Persuasive Technology
  • Volume: 4
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2470-9247 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2470-9255 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2470-9247/CGP/v04i04/21-35
  • Citation: Siebert, Scarlet, Nils Tolksdorf, Katharina Rohlfing, and Isabel Zorn. 2019. "Raising Robotic Natives?: Persuasive Potentials of Social Robots in Early Education." The Journal of Communication and Media Studies 4 (4): 21-35. doi:10.18848/2470-9247/CGP/v04i04/21-35.
  • Extent: 15 pages


Recently, social robots are increasingly tested within educational settings as tools to learn about, media to learn through, or social actors to learn from and with. While robots are marketed as making learning more effective, their use raises concerns with respect to the target group’s age, knowledge, and dependency on others. Therefore, this article aims at exploring ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of applying robots in early education. Referring to Fogg’s framework of computers as persuasive technologies (captology), we will derive possible challenges connected to the different roles a robot can take on within learning settings. By reviewing literature from human-robot interaction, ethics, technology assessment, and Science and Technology Studies, we will conclude that applying robots in early education should not mean letting children be taught by them but rather utilizing these technologies to teach about and through them.