Could Robots Influence Children In The Future?

Parents and those in au pair jobs are likely to be familiar with the concern that children could be negatively swayed by their peers. However, they should perhaps be more worried about the influence of robots instead.

University of Plymouth researchers recently released a study entitled Science Robotics, which found that kids as young as seven listened to machinery more than peer pressure, BBC News revealed.

Scientists looked at how adults and children responded to tasks, and if they were influenced by androids or other kids when giving their answers.

The report showed children aged between seven and nine were more likely to pick the wrong choice after it being first suggested by a robot.

Dr Tony Belpaeme, professor in robotics, said: “Adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did.”

He added that this demonstrates kids “have more of an affinity with robots”.

The scientist posed the question whether this influence could be used to encourage future generations to buy certain products or think certain things.

According to the report: “A future in which autonomous social robots are used as aids for education professions or child therapists is not distant.”

While this could be used positively, it also has the potential to yield negative results. Indeed, when the children in the survey were left to their own devices, they scored an average of 87 per cent on their test.

However, this dropped to 75 per cent when they listed to the robotic answers that were wrong.

This comes after Decathlon recently revealed children spend twice as much time on their video games than they do playing outside, showing just how important screen time is to youngsters these days.