These smart devices, such as Smart TVs, watches, smartphones, speakers and fitness wearables to name a few are being implemented into young people’s lives from a very early age. Upon first impressions, these devices all appear as stand-alone and distinct from one another. However, it is the increasing interconnectivity of such devices with each other that has allowed for the birth of what is now known as the ‘smart-home’, or essentially the steps towards home automation. Devices such as smart speakers are being introduced into the family household by parents en-masse, which is having a ripple effect on the permeation of smart technology into their children’s lives. One parent in particular outlined how a smart-speaker has ‘become her co-parent’, thus revolutionising the way in which children are interacting and being exposed to technology from the get-go.
The almost never-ending cycle of synchronisation amongst smart-devices, for example the ability to control your speaker from your watch, is creating a high-tech environment in family homes that is encouraging children to indulge in the tech-phenomena from a very early age. Is it therefore this interconnectivity between smart devices that is allowing for technology to elicit such a large impact on young people today?
Although somewhat accurate, young people’s full engagement with smart technology is actually inhibited on the premise that interconnectivity thrives amongst homeowners, as this ownership is largely what allows for the synching of smart devices. Data from a 2019 study demonstrated how (perhaps surprising to many) use of voice assistant through smart speakers shows little variation in the age range of 16-60, implying the possession of smart speakers is championed by homeowners rather than predominantly young people as one may initially expect.
Considering the popularity of smart technology and the potential to capitalise on this within the young demographic, what can companies do to get around this barrier of its significant relationship to home ownership? Amazon have already attempted to break down this link through its introduction of a kids’ edition of the Echo Dot, targeted specifically towards children, featuring appropriated attributes of the original version. However, it is the greater implications of targeting this pool which may provide tech-giants the longevity required for boosting sales; by planting the smart-tech seed from an early age, its place within the lives of young people is not merely encouraged but normalised, effectively highlighting smart-tech as a necessity rather than an affluent but useful superfluity.
Written by: Zara Billings
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 Article – https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-voice-assistant-has-become-my-co-parent-11553890641