For my fellow geek dads (and moms): Check out this very original study of what children want from technology. At first glance, the questions and the answers they provoke seem, well, child-like: Of course, the kids want the world, they want the whole world, and they want today and tomorrow:
Love that song!
But the Latitude study reveals some deeper things going on, which are nicely summarized in this video:
There's a couple interesting things here. One is that children's science-fiction dreams are very much shaped by how they're experiencing technology right now, and the video does a nice job of connecting what they imagine to real technological trends like augmented reality and RFID tags. Innovation starts in imagination and children live in a world augmented by stories and images in their heads; it's a strange but true fact that a great deal of recent technological innovation has started in childhood science-fiction dreams.
On a much less idealistic level, it's also true that wants and needs drive innovation; children are imagining things that someone will try to manufacture and sell to them, as both fantasy and reality.
But consider, for a moment, how so many of these desires rely on being connected to other people. The kids want cool stuff, but they're also imagining opportunities for creativity and community. Veruca Salt and Charlie Bucket co-exist within all of us, a selfish devil and a community-minded angel, which is the root of the appeal of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story. It's really up to us adults, parents and non-parents alike, to create a world in which kids are encouraged to find and amplify the non-materialistic, communitarian possibilities presented by a connected world like the one you're a part of on this blog. In other words, we should all strive to be Grandpa Joe, not Veruca Salt's bad egg of a dad! Honk honk!
I'm curious: Any stories to share about your kids and technology? Any thoughts inspired by this video? Leave them in a comment!
Revised from a post on Shareable.net.