Smartphone Apps for Child Sexual Abuse Education: Gaps and Design Considerations

Sadia Tasnuva Pritha, Rahnuma Tasnim, Ashad Kabir, Sumaiya Amin, Anik Das

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Abstract

With the availability of many child sexual abuse (CSA) education apps in different app stores, an evaluation system has become necessary as scant information is available regarding their evidence-based quality. The objectives of this study are understanding the requirements of a CSA education app, identifying the limitations of existing apps, and providing guidelines for better app design.
An electronic search across three major app stores (Google Play, Apple, and Microsoft) was conducted and the selected apps were rated by three independent raters. A total of 191 apps were found and finally, 14 apps were selected for review based on defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. An app rating scale for CSA education apps is devised by modifying existing scales and then used to evaluate the selected 14 apps. Our rating scale evaluates essential features, functionalities, and software quality characteristics that are necessary for CSA education apps, and determined their effectiveness for potential use as CSA education programs for children. The internal consistency of the rating scale and the inter- and intra-rater reliability among the raters are also calculated. User comments from the app stores are collected and analyzed to understand their expectations and views. After analyzing the feasibility of the reviewed apps, CSA app design considerations are proposed that highlight game-based teaching approaches. The evaluation results show that most of the reviewed apps are not suitable for being used as CSA education programs. While a few may be able to teach children and parents individually, only the apps ``Child Abuse Prevention" (rate 3.89 out of 5) and ``Orbit Rescue" (rate 3.92 out of 5) could be deemed suitable for a school-based CSA education program. However, all the apps need to be improved in terms of their software qualities and CSA-specific features to be considered as potential CSA education programs. This study provides the necessary knowledge to developers and individuals regarding the essential features and software quality characteristics for designing and developing CSA education apps.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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