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Researchers Present 'Trauma-Informed Computing' Framework


businesswoman meditating at a computer, illustration

The researchers aim to contribute a new lens that complements other frameworks that consider marginalized or at-risk communities.

Credit: Getty Images

For people who've experienced digital stalking or harassment, seemingly innocuous changes to a smartphone or computer's operating system can be terrifying.

Computing-related retraumatization can be lessened or avoided in a few low- or no-cost ways, says Nicola Dell, associate professor of information science at Cornell Tech. She is part of a research group focused on "trauma-informed computing" — an approach that acknowledges trauma's impact and seeks to make technology safer for all users.

Dell and her colleagues define trauma-informed computing as "an ongoing commit­ment to improving the design, development, deploy­ment, and support of digital technologies by: explicitly acknowledging trauma and its impact; recognizing that digital technologies can both cause and exacer­bate trauma; and actively seeking out ways to avoid technology-related trauma and retraumatization."

The group's framework consists of six principles for the design, development, deployment, and evaluation of computing systems. Their paper explores application of these principles.

From Cornell University
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