Thoughts On Designing For The Existence Of Children
Children are great! Right?...
Graphic design has its basics elements: space, balance, hierarchy, lines and shapes, color, typography, texture, and branding. But none of these fundamental concepts says anything about kids.
The most important thing to remember is that there are children on the Internet. Nowadays, every device is Internet-capable, so one way or another, those children will get access to it. Then, they’ll get around parental controls with ease because all kids are tech-savvy.
Keeping it Family Friendly
The equilibrium of how kid-friendly your website should be can be hard to find. As Ezequiel Bruni said in his article, “If you’re running something corporate and professional, it shouldn’t be a problem. Any corporate-type site has the advantages of being both inoffensive by design, and generally boring to children.”
But what happens when the sites are about culture or news? Real life events and commentary shouldn’t be censored, “not every site needs to be adult in its tone, but we need those sites in our collective cultural exploration.”
“Even so, we are at least somewhat responsible for the content we host, and so if we aren’t going to make the Internet one big, soft, kiddie-friendly space, we should be taking what measures we can.”
Age Verification is (Mostly) Useless
“Now the thing about age verification is that, on the Internet, it’s almost almost entirely pro forma. Sure, it can help you cover your rear end legally, but it doesn’t actually keep the kids out.”
At the end of the day, having a minimum-age policy is only functional to prevent legal problems and as a tool for moderation.
Active Moderation is Key
“While stopping young and impressionable minds from merely browsing a website is next to impossible, if you have a community, you should be moderating it in any case. The youngest members of any community should be priority number one for all moderators, as they are the most vulnerable.”
Maybe Don’t Make Payments Too Easy
“There are many horror stories of kids buying way too much stuff through apps and the Internet with their parents’ money or credit. While it is important not to make paying for stuff so difficult that your users simply leave, you don’t want to be the company that tricks little kids into making purchases, whether on purpose or by accident.”
“Just because kids will eventually find their way around parental controls doesn’t mean they’re not a good start. “
To learn more about this topic, check Ezequiel’s article, Thoughts on Designing for the Existence of Children.