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Tuesday 15 May 2007

Web gives kids surprising new gatekeeper role

What was that postcode again mom?

Where once it was just daughter showing father how to program the Video Recorder, now it's son showing mum how to fill in that form to the government.

According to "Surfin' on Mom's Turf: Cyber Chillin' With 8-14 Year-Olds," a report released by an American marketing company called Stars for Kidz and reported on ClickZ, 14 percent of kids have helped parents prepare their income tax return online.

"In this 8 to 14 age group, these kids are the first strong generation where they have had all these sophisticated levels of technology from childhood, and they function intuitively," said Adele Schwartz, research director at Stars for Kidz.

Additional chores given to kids include

  • sharing pictures and e-mails with relatives (38 percent);
  • looking up movie listings (38 percent);
  • responding to invitations, party and vacation planning (36 percent each);
  • and travel (36 percent);
  • getting driving directions (35 percent).

"What we see is the kids who are computer competent are becoming pivotal sources of information and planning for the family," said Schwartz.

"Kids think moms [parents] are clueless, while that may or may not be true, kids are quicker and they find [information online] easier."

Interesting stuff.

Certainly my experience is that it's the intuition element which doesn't cross generations easily. What are the implications when the kids control the information flow (apart from mum + dad learning how to search)?

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