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On the Need for Cultural Sensitivity in Digtial Wellbeing Tools and Messages: A UK-China Comparison
The excessive and obsessive use of the internet and digital technologies, known as Digital Addiction (DA), is becoming a social issue. Given that it inherently involves the use of technological devices this provides the opportunity to deliver interactive, intelligent prevention and intervention strategies in real-time. However, for any large-scale, multi-national prevention campaign to be optimised cultural differences within the target population must be considered. This study aimed to contribute towards this literature by exploring cultural differences in the acceptance of DA prevention messages in the UK vs China. An initial series of exploratory interviews were conducted with a sample within the UK to determine what strategies may be used to address the overuse of digital devices. These interviews were subjected to content analysis, which was then used as the basis for an online survey that was disseminated throughout the UK and China. A total of 373 useable surveys were returned. There were several statistically significant differences in preferences over how an intervention system should operate. UK participants wished for the system to be easily under their control, whilst behaving largely autonomously when needed, and to also be transparent as to why a message had been triggered. Chinese participants, on the other hand, were less likely to state a preference for such a high degree of control over any such system. Overall, the preferred implementation of such systems does appear to vary between the UK and China, suggesting that any future prevention and intervention strategies take cultural dimensions into consideration.