It can be amusing to watch adults try to peer into the world of youth and how they use technology. “What can we learn from these alien creatures?”
While kids can indeed show future trends, you have to be really careful extrapolating behavior into the future.
Examples of mistaken extrapolation:
– “Kids love using Club Penguin, so when they grow up, they’ll want the Internet to be a 3D virtual world.”
– “Kids don’t use email, so email will die.”
But kids have different needs, goals, and constraints than adults. Furthermore, what they find fun and useful at 6 is different from ages 10, 14, 18… and sometimes those bands can be even tighter.
So if you are actually designing for adults, while it can be interesting to see how kids are using technology (not unlike any interesting early adopter group), be careful taking things too literally.
Image by flickingerbrad (Creative Commons)