Monday, July 2, 2007

Kids Getting Bolder Younger!

During some recent research I asked 7- to 15-year-olds about their
computing habits. At first I was astonished to discover that 100
percent of my groups had access to a computer at home, but then I
noticed they talked in a manner that suggested they also had control
over the computer; the parents had little influence. I was expecting
the children to be enthusiastic in their usage of the computer but
didn't expect them to assume ownership, with the parents taking such a
back seat.

Now, I don't want to fuel the more zealous child protectionists by
saying that children are running amok online without any control,
because this wasn't the context of the research. What I learned was
that children are using the computer to communicate, play, learn, and
explore; I hope and actually expect that most online enquiries are
perfectly innocent—the vast majority of children really are not
interested in adult content. Youngsters are the pioneers; they are
watching and listening and then passing on what they find out. How else
could AOL Instant Messenger, YouTube, or MySpace have become as big as
they are? Certainly adults wouldn't have recommended them.

Of course, the effects cannot just be seen online. All mobile
communication innovations are driven by the teen generation and are
passed down to tweens, juniors, and infants. The mobile generation is
demanding and getting better-quality and quicker downloads, they are
accessing information where and when they like, and they are sharing
this with similar thinking individuals…

It is now a well-established fact that mobile phones are owned by
younger and younger people; it is not uncommon to see primary-school
children with phones. What hasn't been accepted is that the same age
groups are now accessing their friends via the computer when they get
home and that the home computer is actually their tool—one that they
teach their parents how to use!

Young people, from teens down to the very young, have no fear of
technology and are leading the way into the digital frontier; we need
to be as bold in our understanding and communications.

Ok, so KGBY doesn't trip off the tongue as easily as KGOY, but it is
apparent that KGBY is now a far more relevant barometer in gauging the
behavior and attitudes of today's children.

Kids are getting bolder younger. How bold are you?

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