Smartwatch games: Encouraging privacy-protective behaviour in a longitudinal study

by   Meredydd Williams, et al.

While the public claim concern for their privacy, they frequently appear to overlook it. This disparity between concern and behaviour is known as the Privacy Paradox. Such issues are particularly prevalent on wearable devices. These products can store personal data, such as text messages and contact details. However, owners rarely use protective features. Educational games can be effective in encouraging changes in behaviour. Therefore, we developed the first privacy game for (Android) Wear OS watches. 10 participants used smartwatches for two months, allowing their high-level settings to be monitored. Five individuals were randomly assigned to our treatment group, and they played a dynamically-customised privacy-themed game. To minimise confounding variables, the other five received the same app but lacking the privacy topic. The treatment group improved their protection, with their usage of screen locks significantly increasing (p = 0.043). In contrast, 80 control group continued to never restrict their settings. After the posttest phase, we evaluated behavioural rationale through semi-structured interviews. Privacy concerns became more nuanced in the treatment group, with opinions aligning with behaviour. Actions appeared influenced primarily by three factors: convenience, privacy salience and data sensitivity. This is the first smartwatch game to encourage privacy-protective behaviour.


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