7 May 2008

Ethnographic study on how young children interact with the web

Be the first to share

Parenting 2.0
Consumer Reports WebWatch released the results of an ethnographic study on how children interact with online environments.

The study, “Like Taking Candy from a Baby: How Young Children Interact with Online Environments,” used ethnographic methods and focused on young children, ages 2½ to 8.

For the study, parents in 10 families used video cameras to keep journals, providing insights into the way children use sites such as Club Penguin, Webkinz, Nick Jr., Barbie.com and others. Footage from those journals, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/cwwkids, illustrates how young children respond to advertising and marketing tactics online.

The digital world offers a wealth of opportunity for young children to play and learn. But even in this small sample of 10 families the study found—too easily, in several circumstances—repeated examples of attempts to manipulate children for the sake of commerce.

The study’s key findings:

  • Even the very young go online.
  • The Internet is a highly commercial medium.
  • Web sites frequently tantalize children, presenting enticing options and even threats that their online creations will become inaccessible unless a purchase is made.
  • Most of the sites observed promote the idea of consumerism.
  • Logos and brand names are ubiquitous.
  • Subtle branding techniques are frequently used.
  • The games observed vary widely in quality, in educational value, and in their developmental match with children’s abilities.

The study’s executive summary (contained within the report download), also contains a range of recommendations for parents, publishers, and policy makers.

The report was written by Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., an adviser to Consumer Reports WebWatch. Buckleitner is editor of Children’s Technology Review, a periodical covering children’s interactive media. He is also the founder of the Mediatech Foundation, a nonprofit public community technology center based in Flemington, N.J.

Press release
Download report (pdf, 58 pages)

Be the first to share
29 January 2016
[Report] Consumers more frustrated by smart home apps than devices
New report by Argus Insights suggests disappointing apps break user experience, may cause decline in consumer delight over time. The Smart Home ecosystem comprises both hardware devices and software apps and together they are supposed to …
28 January 2016
The Power of Privacy – documentary film
In this half-hour film (commissioned by The Guardian and Silent Circle), Aleks Krotoski travels the world to undergo challenges that explore our digital life in the 21st century. Watch her be stalked and hacked, fight to …
27 January 2016
Human-machine interactions and the coming age of autonomy
Melissa Cefkin is a Principal Scientist & Design Anthropologist at Nissan Research in Silicon Valley where she explores the potential of having autonomous vehicles as interactive agents in the world. In an article that was published …
27 January 2016
Remaking Ford into a user experience-driven company
Ford CEO Mark Fields recently declared that Ford would be remade as a user-experience driven company: "We have obviously a lot experience in the car business, over 113 years, and our differentiation is going to be …
26 January 2016
The computational anthropologist
When people think of quantitative analytics, big data, and statistics, they rarely picture an anthropologist. The truth is that although anthropology is well known for gathering qualitative data, anthropologists are trained to understand all kinds …
26 January 2016
Designing for Crisis, Design for Real Life
It’s easy to design for the idealized user, someone who’s smart, calm, and informed. It’s less easy, and thus more important, to design for a more realistic user: still smart, but harried and uncertain. The …
26 January 2016
[Book] Every Thing We Touch: A 24-Hour Inventory of Our Lives
Every Thing We Touch: A 24-Hour Inventory of Our Lives [Tumblr page] by Paula Zuccotti Viking Books, November 2015 256 pages What's the first thing we touch when we wake up? How do our favourite things reveal our hopes and …
22 January 2016
The power of creativity from below
Anthropologist Michael Thompson believes in the power of creativity from below in solving some of the smaller and bigger problems of our time. "People generally are very creative and innovative. Many anthropological case studies have shown …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

See all articles