Paper Accepted to CSCW 2013

Happy to report our paper How and Why Teenagers Use Video Chat, was accepted as a full paper to the 16th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2013). In February 2013, the paper will be presented at this premier conference by the primary author, Tatiana Buhler in San Antonio, Texas.

Our study looks at the role video chat has within teenagers, specifically how they socialize with their friends over distance. The study highlights new privacy and parental concerns introduced by the use of video, and compare the findings to adult-use of video chatting and teenager use of messaging systems.


Teenagers are increasingly using video chat systems to communicate with others, however, little research has been conducted to explore how and why they use the technology. To better understand this design space, we present the results of a study of twenty teenagers and their use of video chat systems such as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. Our results show that video chat plays an important role in helping teenagers socialize with their friends after school and on weekends where it allows them to see emotional reactions and participate in activities like shared homework sessions, show and tell, and performances over distance. Yet video chat is also used to engage in more private activities such as gossiping, flirting, and even the viewing of sexual acts. This presents an interesting design challenge of supporting teen use of video chat while mitigating privacy and parental concerns.

(view full paper)