AI News, Keepon Helps Kids Learn to Argue Better

Keepon Helps Kids Learn to Argue Better

Most conflicts that young children have with each other are settled without adult intervention in under a minute, but usually this happens in such a way that means one kid “wins” and the other “loses.” Ideally, both children would end up as winners, or at least as co-not-losers, but it takes some skills to make that happen.

We arranged children’s play material so that there were only one of certain key pieces (e.g., only one ice cream cone in a Lego Duplo ice cream set, only one controller for a remote control car).

With some reinforcement from an adult, the children were introduced to Keepon in a way that established it as the authority in the room, in charge of the play session—Keepon tells the children that it’ll decide when they should switch the kinds of toys they’re playing with, and also tells them that if they have a disagreement, it will play a loud noise (like areferee whistle) to get their attention and then help them resolve it:

However, upon Keepon’s fourth prompt, the boy flew his plane one last time and gave the girl both of his wing pieces, and as a trade, asked for two other pieces from the girl.The video also shows a subsequent conflict between the same pair 13 minutes later over the remote control car, in which right after Keepon signaled the conflict, the boy did what he thought was appropriate and gave the girl a turn at the toy.

Children were about 4 times more likely to resolve object possession conflicts constructively when they played with a robot that not only facilitated and directed the play session, but also signaled the onset of conflicts and offered prompts for constructive conflict resolution whenever possible, compared to when they played with a robot that only facilitated and directed the play session.

Many adults have tried to help kids argue less, perhapsasparents or teachers.

fromtheir own youth.Researcher Solace Shen and her colleagues from Cornell University and University College London carried out an experiment examining if a remotely-controlled social robot might be able to help young people resolve disagreements over toys.

and has a simple face, a yellow and rounded appearance, and soft rubber skin intended for little hands to touch.

“We arranged children’s play material so that there were only one of certain key pieces (e.g., only one ice cream cone in a Lego Duplo ice cream set, only one controller for a remote control car),”

A total of 32 pairs of children agesthree to six participated in a 50-minute play period consisting of five activities facilitated by Keepon.

Keepon was introduced to the kids as an inquisitive and silly new friend and also as the director of their play, who would talk with them about their activities and let them know when to switch toys.

Keepon helped pairs choose methods such as taking turns, trading, sharing, playing together or other “settlements,”

As seen in the video above, some of the young participants also learned to return to the robot for help and then were able to resolve disagreements peaceably in a quicker fashion.

“It is possible that a different form of interaction paradigm would be more effective for children from low SES households, as these children tend to be less exposed to formal social-emotional learning and conflict resolution training,”

they write, citing a 2007 study into how preschool programs can improve cognitive control, which considers the role of socioeconomic factors.

“I would love to continue this line of work and am thinking about ways of extending this line of investigation to other populations and domains,”

Cute Little Robot Helps Children Argue Better

Keepon, a cute little social robot, is being tested by researchers to see if social robots in general could be used as a way to teach children conflict resolution.

But the point of this research was to see whether a social robot could be used beneficially in situations like this: Would the children resolve conflicts more effectively with the help of the robot than they would by themselves?

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