Designing [digital products] for kids - An NNgroup study
Summarizing the study, Sherwin and Nielsen advise parents and educators the following:
“We conducted this research in order to generate usability guidelines for companies, government agencies, and major non-profit organizations that want to design websites for children. Even so, some of our findings have personal implications for parents, teachers, and others who want to help individual children succeed on the internet:
The main predictor of children's ability to use websites is their amount of prior experience. We also found that children as young as 3 can use websites and apps, as long as they’re designed according to the guidelines for this very young audience. Together, these two findings lead to the advice to start your children on the internet at an early age (while also setting limits; too much computer time isn’t good for children).
Parents and educators should also be aware of how they model behavior with devices. Kids learn from what they see around them. In a study by AVG Technologies, conducted with participants in nine countries, 54% of children 8–13 years old felt that parents checked their devices too often. Nearly one third (32%) of children felt unimportant when their parents were distracted by a mobile or tablet device. Adults must not put the full burden of responsible device use on children, without recognizing the role their own behavior plays in influencing them.
Campaigns to sensitize children to the internet’s potential dangers and to teach them to be wary of submitting personal information are meeting with success. Keep up this good work.
On a more negative note, children still don’t understand the web’s commercial nature and lack the skills needed to identify advertising and treat it differently than real content. We need much stronger efforts to teach children about these facts of new media.”
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