Towards Understanding Family Privacy and Security Literacy Conversations at Home: Design Implications for Privacy Literacy Interfaces

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Policymakers and researchers have emphasized the crucial role of parent-child conversations in shaping children’s digital privacy and security literacy. Despite this emphasis, little is known about the current nature of these parent-child conversations, including their content, structure, and children’s engagement during these conversations. This paper presents the findings of an interview study involving 13 parents of children ages under 13 reflecting on their privacy literacy practices at home. Through qualitative thematic analysis, we identify five categories of parent-child privacy and security conversations and examine parents’ perceptions of their children’s engagement during these discussions. Our findings show that although parents used different conversation approaches, rule-based conversations were one of the most common approaches taken by our participants, with example-based conversations perceived to be effective by parents. We propose important design implications for developing effective privacy educational technologies for families to support parent-child conversations.