by Sergio Duarte Torres, Ingmar Weber and Djoerd Hiemstra
In this journal paper we expanded the study presented in paper What and How Children Search on the Web in two directions. Firstly, We provide a more detailed analysis of the topics that are searched by children on a state-of-the-art search engine by using novel classification based on fine-grained topics derived from the categories of the Yahoo! Answers service. The findings obtained through this analysis allow us to provide concrete recommendations for the development of modern IR systems for young users in specific age ranges.
Secondly, we employed toolbar logs from the Yahoo! search engine to characterize the browsing behavior of young users, particularly to understand the activities on the Internet that trigger search. We quantified the proportion of browsing and search activity in the toolbar sessions and we estimated the likelihood of a user to carry out search on the Web vertical and multimedia verticals (i.e.\ videos and images) given that the previous event is another search event or a browsing event. We found that certain group of young users are more likely to carried out multimedia search and that certain browsing events are more likely to trigger web search, such as knowledge related websites (e.g. Wikipedia).
Published at TWEB ACM, March 2014, Volume 8 Issue 2. Read the paper.
by Sergio Duarte Torres and Ingmar Weber
The Internet has become an important part of the daily life of children as a source of information and leisure activities. Nonetheless, given that most of the content available on the web is aimed at the general public, children are constantly exposed to inappropriate content, either because the language goes beyond their reading skills, their attention span differs from grown-ups or simple because the content is not targeted at children as is the case of ads and adult content. In this work we employed a large query log sample from a commercial web search engine to identify the struggles and search behavior of children of the age of 6 to young adults of the age of 18. Concretely we hypothesized that the large and complex volume of information to which children are exposed leads to ill-defined searches and to disorientation during the search process. For this purpose, we quantified their search difficulties based on query metrics (e.g. fraction of queries posed in natural language), session metrics (e.g. fraction of abandoned sessions) and click activity (e.g. fraction of ad clicks). We also used the search logs to retrace stages of child development. Concretely we looked for changes in the user interests (e.g. distribution of topics searched), language development (e.g. readability of the content accessed) and cognitive development (e.g. sentiment expressed in the queries) among children and adults. We observed that these metrics clearly demonstrate an increased level of confusion and unsuccessful search sessions among children. We also found a clear relation between the reading level of the clicked pages and the demographics characteristics of the users such as age and average educational attainment of the zone in which the user is located. Read the paper