Will technology ever catch up?

Attack Of The Tech-Savvy Toddlers – News by InformationWeek

Posted by cascadehush on January 24, 2007

Attack Of The Tech-Savvy Toddlers – News by InformationWeek:

The NPD Group announced results from a survey of American parents with children ages 2 to 14 in its report, Kids & Digital Content. The report said children are becoming more tech-savvy, with children as young as 2 years old downloading content to cell phones, computers, and portable digital music players.

Did you notice who was surveyed? The Kids? No, the parents.

I never cease to be amazed just how often technologically illiterate parents overestimate their children’s tech-savvyness. Usually it doesn’t take much for a child to be a step ahead of their parents. When they are, the parents often assume the child knows much more about the device than they actually do.

How is it possible for a 2 year old to download something on a cellphone when they would not be able to read the menus or know what number to dial. And even if there is some shortcut button that then can push to get a new wallpaper or ringtone, it doesn’t prove that the child has any cognition about how that new data gets transferred down to the phone from a server, and that it costs money to do so.

Yes there are some clever kids around. Yes children have grown up with technology and are much more comfortable with it than previous generations. But be careful about exaggerating their actual skills, or presuming that what they do know about one gadget will automatically transfer to other piece of technology.

It is a fact of life that children are more inquisitive and exploratory and less concerned with the consequences of their actions. Adults tend to be the other way round. Sometimes that makes it hard for adults to come to terms with technology and change, whilst it is easier for children or adolescents.

And for all we know the generation of children after this one may eschew technology altogether and be more interested in nature and exercise. Someone will do a study about how ‘children as young as 3 not obese, some even ask their parents to switch of the TV’

More likely is that technology will become more transparent such that it is less a matter of skill, and more of creativity and judgement, as the devices adapt to us, rather than the other way round.


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