parenting

Technology for Children: Bringing Businesses and Children Together

parentingeducation

What does a CEO of a global E-learning corporation and a six year-old have in common? Plenty. The CEO has a product and the six year-old is their future customer.

Recently, I facilitated a focus group of kids for a global corporation. The company was interested in asking the kids questions about what they were interested in and what types of things they would like to see in the future.

Many of us have children who are in grade school. These young children live in your house, work on your iPad or computer, download games and music from iTunes, or play on their gaming devices. They are the "It" generation of consumers who are expected to rise up and push companies to create products that meet their needs. They're different from the older generation or the baby boomers. Young People drive and push content and product development. They are ten steps ahead of the twenty-something developer at a large corporation. Many companies like Nike, Apple, and Coca Cola recognize this.

A Dallas based company desires to branch out into the highly lucrative homeschool market of parents and child buyers, which topped $4 million globally. I like to call this market of virtual learners "world schoolers." They learn hands-on, while they are online, with classes on the iPad or another tablets. They make friends the way we all do and integrate and socialize in groups and activities, and play sports in school. Most cities have schools with these home schooled kids on their sports teams and the coaches will tell you how disciplined and focused they are.

In the child focus group, the CEO wanted to know more about what products kids overall, not just virtual learners, would relate to in their lives. It was a great way to bring kids from diverse backgrounds and a company together for the good of the world and the future development of electronic products.

In the old days, a child focus group involved kids playing with a toy or testing a product. In our focus group, the "It" generation was an experienced group of 6-16-year-olds all in one place. All were adept at leading, managing technology, submitting ideas, and participating in ideation.

One child, an eight year-old boy, suggested "Kid geniuses" for Apple, instead of just the adult geniuses. These kids don't get paid, they attend meetings and participate in play groups in stores centered around products. Why? The iPod music device is a top selling device at Apple stores and most kids know how to use one. The kid market, with iPhones and music, is booming. Businesses know that if they can reach this target market, they will be more profitable.

Why do you think it's important that businesses include kids in their product research and development? What type of insight can kids provide?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Tammy Kling is a life coach, crisis management expert, and advocate for the homeless.

She is an international author of 37 books including The Compass. Tammy is also the founder of The Homeless Writers Project, an organization that helps those living on the street write out their hopes & dreams via writers workshops, free journals and other resources. In addition to writing and coaching, Tammy is a mom of two boys, an avid trail and mountain runner, blogger, and adventure travel writer.

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I'm a book author, homeschool mom of boys, mountain runner and advocate for the homeless. Founder of Write it Out, a homeless recovery program that teaches writers workshops to the homeless and gang members, in order to focus on using the power of words to restore, recover, and rehabilitate. www.escapesuburbia.wordpress.com

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