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How Do Children Use The Internet Young People Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Young People
Wordcount: 3795 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In recent days, using of Internet has totally changed the environment in which where we live, learn and work. Simultaneously, children are frequently using the Internet and all are always accessing the online. Notably, children have limited knowledge for browsing the information what they want and more difficult to search and retrieve the results than the adults. So, young children are being forced to manage the designs that require complex typing, accurate spelling, advanced reading skills, and understanding of abstract concepts or content knowledge that lies beyond their still-developing abilities (Moore and George, 1991; Solomon, 1993; Walter et al., 1996). Based on Jakob Nielsen et al. (2010), the differences between children and adult in applying the design are the children use Internet for entertainment although the adult is used for communication with people and their communities, children usually use 12, 14 point and adult use 10 point (up to 14 for seniors) for font size, children have slowly typing and poor mouse control than the adult who can do like as expert, children like animation and sound effects for their design but adult mostly disliked and age-targeted design is importance between child groups but not necessary for adult.

1.2 Investigating preferences of children

According to Dina Demner et al. (2001), children use computers and Internet for different purposes and functions which are depend on their like, dislikes, ages, interest, behavior, characteristics and habits. The group of children can be classified into four groups: 3-5 years old pre-readers (only memorize the data that they learned before a day), 5-8 years old beginning readers (start to play cooperatively with other people), 8-12 years old children (become more concentrate on connection between people) and teenagers (willing to analyze the new things but usage of Internet is less than the adult person).

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Currently, developers who designed for children do not consider the children’s skills and preferences. As a result, the applications may not be easily learned and used by children who have rare knowledge (Hutchinson, Bederson, 2005). Besides that, majority of the tools available are for the expert users which are not suitable for novice users like as children particularly for children who have very limited knowledge in computer. The interactions of children with the technologies depend on their age levels. Based on (Acuff and Reiher, 1997), the children between 8 and 12 change their interests from fantasy to reality. They start to understand more abstract terms, longer terms and more complex terms. Researcher (Inkpen, 2001) studied that the children who ages from 9 to 13 like point and click rather than drag and drop. Moreover, (Read, J.C., MacFarlane, S.J., Casey, C, 2001) discussed the various kinds of text input techniques for children. This research is restricted and compared to the corresponding research for adults.

In addition, colour preference is also one of the key issues to investigate the preference of children. Colour has a great impact on our live from early childhood onwards. Colour alters, evokes emotions, and affects our perception. Besides, preferable colour can increase the cognitive processes (Boyatzis, C.J., & Varghese, R. 1993). An experiment (Chung, H. Y., et al. 2009) implemented the colour preferences among children revealed that boys preferred vivid colours for yellow, red, and blue, and bright light tones for yellow, green, and purple. On the other hand girls preferred light tones for yellow, green, and purple and pale tones for red and blue. Design should be based on its targeted users rather than emphasize on discussion with users and the children are not interested in the User Interface design guidelines (Shneiderman, 1998). Therefore, designers should be focused on searching the useful designs which will provide for children’s preferences such as development, health, social activities.

2.1 Why sport important for children

Exercise can reduce stress that the children who has stress, depression, anxiety as adult have. However, sport, not exercise, encourages growth and contributes to improve physical and emotional health. Sport psychologist: (Dr. Glyn Roberts of the University of Illinois) emphasizes that sport is an important thing to learn the environment for children. Besides, sport provides various kinds of functions and can attain valuable things that can apply in their life. They learn to work hard for winning, study how to cope with life if face with problems, how to continue after failing, learn to listen, to stay concentrated, to obey rules and regulations and many things that can help them to grow into mentally healthier persons. Another benefit is emotional development which contains how to cope with winning and losing, how to try again if it is fail. In addition, team sport also provides the friendship skills that mean if the children want to win, he or she must help other members to finish their part of work and that can help to success in their daily life and also future life. Sport provide healthy, physically and socially growth of children as well as emotionally and social skills. Moreover, the attitudes and behaviour taught to children in sports carry over to adult life. Participation in sports can get many benefits from being physically active for children. It can promote healthy growth and development, build strong bones and muscles, and reduce obesity to maintain a healthy weight, reduce obesity to maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, provide friendship among people, reduce stress and help relaxation, improve self-esteem.

2.2 Sport sites for children

Sport sites in Internet are very useful for children because every child can contribute from its contents. Besides, it does not need to have materials that support for sport and can play just only have computer and broadband internet connection and developing mobile services. There are many available sport sites for children in Web. In our paper, we address some useful sport sites for children called http://www.nflrush.com and http://bettersoccermorefun.com. These websites are official sites and made especially for children. It contains about the positions for football, how to play them, information about fun facts, getting advices and tips.

Figure1: Main Form of nflrush website

Figure 2: Main Form of Bettersoccermorefun website

3. Design a sports site for children

3.1 Usage of internet by children

With the ubiquitous internet access, children have more opportunities been exposed in the light of internet and carried out various online activities. According to Livingstone and Helpsper (2007), the amount of children accessing the internet has continuously increased and internet has become an indispensable tool for them to acquire information and communicate. Comparing with traditional resources, web source is more preferred and used by children (Bilal,

1998). Some data about children’s web use has been analyzed, for instance, one survey (Johnson, 2010) investigated among children whose average age is 10.7 revealed that most children prefer playing online games and visiting websites in a community place like peer’s house.

3.2 Sports sites for children

The fun and learning opportunities that provided by the Web sites is the big concern of children between 6 and 14 years old according to Baumgarten (2003). Besides, a good site should also consider expanding somewhat extent of complexity to meet children’s self-recognition and different developmental levels (Demner, 2001). Therefore, a high quality sports site can go far beyond providing sports related knowledge and skills, actually, it has much to offer to children, for instance, fun, relaxation, chances of communicate and collaborate with peers and develop their interests. This perspective may give a guideline to the designers and help them understand better about the users’ tasks and adjust design to meet their goals.

Therefore, understanding our users, testing and maximizing the degree of usability of the site is critical. After analyzing the particular aspects of children and their unique features, all these should been given high consideration when designing the sports sites. Based on the data (Livingstone & Helpsper, 2007) collected among Britain children between 9-19 years old, it has been found that generally boys and young-age teenagers use the internet more often and spend more time on it when comparing with girls and older teens. Another widely accepted fact is that boys spend more time in football games ( ), thus as the main users of the site, the site design should cater for their favours, while at the same time not ignoring their female counterparts. Thus the features of boys should be the focus of designers.

3.3 Usability of web sites

As the definition of usability (ISO 9241), it presents the “effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.”

Brinck et al. (2001) has proposed some features that a successful web design should include, it should support independent exploration and communication, encourage the users accomplishing their objectives in a fast, efficient and easy way. All these features can also be considered when trying to design a sports site for children.

Many existing studies have adopted participatory deign with children, which means the children actively and directly involved in the design process and act as design testers and partners, have found productive results (Read, 2002). The usability engineers in Microsoft (Hanna, L. & et.al, 1999) have researched in usability testing by working with groups of children, and have concluded several design guidelines of computer products in the criteria of activity, instruction and screen design. For instance, the activities provided should be interesting and constitute some reward scheme to encourage children to interact with, and supportive instructions should be easy to comprehend. All these can be adopted for planning a sports site for children.

Considering the inhibited reading skills and comprehension ability of children, web contents transferred through intuitive formats like animation and audio is necessary. An experiment (Kähkönen & Oyaska, 2006) implemented among children has revealed that children are more likely to learn from animation instructions, as they expect to explore the functionality and have fun from the site. However, according to their research achievement, a combination with simple textual instructions is also important, as children may confused and feel lose something if only animation can be shown.

3.4 Interaction and collaborative learning of web sites

In a survey (Jonson, 2010), researchers have found that, respectively 60.7% and 62.9% of investigated children prefer to visit web sites and play online games in peers’ houses. Allen (2003) also pointed that the social motivation, sense of attachment, winning friends and recognition, for instance, is a vital factor for sports involvement of children in teenage. In addition, football is a team sports, most children may seek online role play games together. Therefore, entertainment feature of collaborative learning and interaction of the site is another essential matter before beginning the design step. Based on the research approach of a collaborative learning project (Ivan & Michal, 2006), maintaining connection among participants, recording their characters and behavior, and then establishing efficient communication tools for them is the premise for formulating an effective collaborative online environment. Just putting this into practice, a football site for children may construct membership scheme to attract participation, diverse role play games which can arouse enthusiasm, intuitive interactive activities, in addition, a corner for children to communicate with each other, like discussion boards, online chat rooms are also praiseful.

4. Children’s online behaviour

4.1 children’s online seeking behaviour

From the perspective of designers, identifying how children use the internet and their online behaviours is crucial as all these things will directly influence the design issues. Many studies have been done in this area, for instance, in one investigation carried out among British children between 9-19 years old, Livingstone and Helpsper (2007) have found that, the frequency and time spent of internet using by boys and young-age teenagers is much higher when comparing with girls and older teens. Another finding is that boys accessing to the internet in more places than their female counterparts.

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During the research process of children’s online behaviour, Bilal (2000) has found that invalid switches (e.g. frequently shifting back and forth, visiting sites), continual looping and minimal navigation are the prevalent problems encountered among children’s using of the sites. The main reason has been attributed to the abstract and complex representation of the web information. In this context, straightforward icons and children’s familiar metaphors can be used to alleviate frustration of iterate actions and support their efficient navigation in the site, as well as a good arrangement of content categories.

According to the outcome released by another experiment (Kähkönen & Oyaska, 2006), researchers found that due to the limit learnability of help function, most children rarely use this part in the web sites. However, considering the cognitive capacity of children and their levels of computer experience, a useful help function is necessary and it is a critical part for their acceptance of a sports site. Thus, for this special group, the help part should be provided in a directive and intuitive way, long and tedious texts, abstract concepts, ambiguous categories should be avoided. Besides, effective real time help is more helpful.

4.2. Participation of Parents

Parents’ participation is very important for children, according to the Eccles’ expectancy-value model (Eccles & Harold, 1991), parents influence their child choices by providing differential levels of support for activities. They also proposed that the level of support is based on expectations of the likelihood that their child will be successful in that area, and the personal beliefs about the value of success in that domain. The degree of involvement of parents in their children sport activities is also important. Most of the parents under involve and most of the parents over involve in their children activities. Under involvement means parents watch on sidelines and they do not actively participate in their children programs. Over involved parents excessively involve in the running program of their children. They emphasize on winning and motivate their children to get success in their running programs. Parents’ participation in their children sport make the child to get competitive advantage, the children can actively involve and can do happily their activities with the support of their parents.

(include features for the participation of parents , teachers, interactive games, information the site provided)

5. Design Principles for Children

Since designers design the system, they must know clearly “Who are the users using the system?” If the system is for various users who have different knowledge about it, they need to focus on from different perspective like what are the user needs and interests depending on users’ profiles and personas.(children)

Norman (1988) defined user-centered design as “a philosophy based on the needs and interests of the users, with an emphasis on making products usable and understandable”. He added that easy to understand and easy to use of the products are pointing out the user to let them know what to do and the user can clearly understand what is going on. According to the Rubin (1944), user-centered design is techniques and procedures for designing usable systems with the user at the centre of the process. “User-centered design principles place increased attention on developing products that are ease of use and ease of understand by focusing on the user throughout the design process” (Dumas & Redish, 1993; Eason, 1988; Gould & Lewis, 1985; Shackel, 1991).

If users are elderly, text font size should be larger than usual as they cannot see the small font size clearly, voice output should be provided more longer than as usual or instead of voice output, text output with large text font should be used as the elderly may be lost in hearing.For users with disabilities, the system designers need to use more flexible computer software in order to support special tools for them. For low vision or blind users, voice output should be provided instead of message output. For the users who have trouble in hand function, using mice and trackballs can be a problem for them. Instead of using these input devices, speech recognition device like voice input can solve the problems for disabled children.

There are many important interaction design principles and there are many way to apply those principles. As our paper focuses on children, we will describe some of the principles and point out what designers should take into account when designing the interface design for children. According to the (Heim, 2007), two main categories can be used to present the principles in a systematic and structured way: namely effectiveness principles and efficiency principles. He defined efficiency as “a design that enable users to accomplish their tasks in the easiest and quickest way as much as possible without having to do overly complex or extraneous procedures.” Efficiency and effectiveness are the principles that support usability. According to the (Usability), the term usability means “The level of ease with which people can employ a particular device in order to attain and increase usability”. There are many design principle that are applied in human computer interaction. There are three main design principles which support usability such as learnability, flexibility and robustness. Under each of these categories, there are many sub principles that affect them (usability). Among these principles, the principles that are required for children will be discussed.

Learn ability is the primary goal of the user interface design and it is the very important design principles for children. It they do not know clearly how to use the system and if it is very difficult for them to use, they can get confusion and they will not use this system anymore. For example, if too many clicks are required to complete a task, children cannot memorize at once and it can get them confused. Next time they visit back, they will not be sure how to go through to complete their tasks.

Responsiveness is also one of the design principles in which the response time of the system should not take long as users are children. If system response time is slow, they may think that the system cannot provide what they want and it cannot work properly.

Children cannot memorize many things at one time like the adult. They can memorize well only one thing at a time. For example, when installing the software, many steps are required to finish. Users need to click on “Next” button to move forward and need to choose location to place the installed software’s icon. After all the steps have been done, users need to click “Finish” button. Software installation process should not be different. It should be consistent. If installation process for different software is not the same, it can be problems for users to memorize what should they do for this software to install and what should they perform for other software. If the installation process is similar for different software, users can predict how should they move on by calling memory on past interaction history.

As the focus users are children, the designers should know the characteristics of children and should design the site to allow them ease of use and should provide required functionality. From the examples of Heim (2007), the design for a drawing program should enumerate all of the tools required to create digital drawings, another example is that in a website, all the information must be provided that are required by the visitor in order to accomplish his or her goals.

For the children who are less than five year cannot read the instructions in the form of message. Designers need to consider this factor. Instead of displaying instruction in the form of message, audio, video, animation should be used to let them know what should they do to complete their tasks. For younger children rather than older children, Sears & Jacko (2008) stated that “To eliminate the need for mouse clicking, the cursor is transformed into a big yellow star with room for five small stars inside it. As the mouse is held over a target, the small stars appear once at a time. When the fifth star appears, it counts as clicking on that target. If the child does click, the process simply moves faster”. For the adult, double-clicking is not a problem for them. For the kids, they do not know the action of double-clicking. Single click action should be provided instead of double clicking.


The following are design issues for children that should be considered when designing the system for children.

Multiple navigations should be avoided because it can be a problem for children and they can get confusion on it.

In sport sites, if text font size of guideline instructions such as rules and regulations for each sport is 12, they cannot focus on it. So, text font size should be larger than as usual.

Youngest kids do not know how to scroll up and scroll down. This is the big problem for them. Instead of using scrolling, multiple pages should be used.

Radio buttons and checkboxes should not be used as they do not have ability which option to choose.

Search box should not be provided. They do not know how to search and they are slow in typing. Instead of search box, the required functions should be put together on the screen.


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