Last week, we spent a lovely day in the sunny Middelburg with our research game ‘Your neighbourhood, your data’. As part of Expeditie NEXT, the national science festival for primary school children, children (and parents!) could go on a virtual datawalk through the city of the future. During these, the children showed what they know and how they feel about collecting (personal) data in public spaces.
We talked to children about their awareness of data, data-collection and privacy in their daily lives, by playing and discussing the online game ‘Jouw buurt, Jouw data’ with them. In the game, players go on a 'virtual data walk' in a fictional town. With a combination of questions and assignments in various parts of this town, players reveal what they know about smart technologies and data collection, while other parts of the game ask participants about their opinions. In doing so, players compose a 'privacy profile', which is shown to them at the end of the game and provides them with feedback on the 'data points’ they encountered along the way.
As can be seen by the overabundance of generous ('gulle') and frugal ('spaarzame') data sharers, children were able to identify lots of different data points in the city. In conversations with us, their parents and siblings they reflected on questions of (how) personal data is collected. Several parents where surprised by how critical their children regarded the collection of data – often much more critical than they were themselves!
Especially checking out all the datapoints at the end often caused surprise. “I never thought about this being a datapoint!”, was an often heard exclamation. On the way out, many children and parents said they would now be extra on the lookout for data collection points in the city.
Overall, it was a very successful day in the beautiful Burgerzaal of the city hall. It was great to engage with a different audience and we were amazed by how much many of the attendants already knew about data in the city. This foresees a promising future!
About Expeditie NEXT
Expeditie NEXT is one of the projects of the National Science Agenda (Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda), in which the bundling of forces of many knowledge institutions, businesses and civil society organization is stimulated. The aim of the National Science Agenda is to make science more accessible for a broader audience by organizing several activities. This was the third time that Expeditie NEXT had been organized.