Toward Inclusion of Children as Software Engineering Stakeholders
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Background: A growing amount of software is available to children today. Children use both software that has been explicitly developed for them and software for general users. While they obtain clear benefits from software, such as access to creativity tools and learning resources, children are also exposed to several risks and disadvantages, such as privacy violation, inactivity, or safety risks that can even lead to death. The research and development community is addressing and investigating positive and negative impacts of software for children one by one, but no comprehensive model exists that relates software engineering and children as stakeholders in their own right. Aims: The final objective of this line of research is to propose effective ways in which children can be involved in Software Engineering activities as stakeholders. Specifically, in this paper, we investigate the quality aspects that are of interest for children, as quality is a crucial aspect in the development of any kind of software, especially for stakeholders like children. Method: Our contribution is based mainly on an analysis of studies at the intersection between Software Engineering (especially software quality) and Child Computer Interaction. Results: We identify a set of qualities and a preliminary set of guidelines that can be used by researchers and practitioners in understanding the complex interrelations between Software Engineering and children. Based on the qualities and the guidelines, researchers can design empirical investigations to obtain deeper insights into the phenomenon and propose new Software Engineering knowledge specific for this type of stakeholders. Conclusions: This conceptualization is a first step towards a framework to support children as stakeholders in software engineering.