To the kids, the PC is what Mum and Dad sit at, or where you can play games, see ‘Foxy’ (the Fantastic Mr Fox trailer) or Doctor Who (am a firm believer of getting ’em when they’re young- speaking as a happily lapsed Catholic).
They’re yet to grasp the myriad of information you can access and search for online, and have no clue about the internet (although Master BG knows the URL of the ABC kids website off by heart).
It was no surprise then, when I read this article about how children use the Internet to search for information. Just because children grow up with technology unbeknownst to their parents at a similar age does not mean they are instant experts. People can and do spend years searching and refining search strategies and techniques- you may know them as librarians.
In my previous life working in public libraries, I was involved in teaching adults how to use the internet- the classes were always heavily booked. Users of our library still call upon library staff to assist in locating a tricky bit of info they know is out on the interweb, but can;t seem to locate. If adults still find it challenging to construct a search, children whose brains are still developing are even more ill-equipped.
Google does make it easy for children by designing their search interface with a large search box (so children can ask questions), and the use of the Arial font; I still think there is more search engines can do, by answering back with a do you mean…you know like what a librarian would do when asked a question!
As for internet filtering to make it safe for Stephen Conroy children, well that’s another story…