Differences between Grownup and Kidcentric Online Communities - dummies

Differences between Grownup and Kidcentric Online Communities

By Deborah Ng

As online community manager, it’s up to you to present kids with a positive, safe haven for their online interaction because they aren’t always aware of the dangers of interacting online and because adults aren’t necessarily looking over kids’ shoulders every second to guide them or protect them from inappropriate content.

Kids are kids; they’re not miniature adults. Treat them respectfully, but treat them as though they’re kids. Adults can pretty much be left to their own devices when they’re using online communities. Kids need more guidance. They don’t know the right online etiquette yet, and they’re more trusting.

Kids’ communities have to be more intuitive than adult communities. Buttons and links should be obvious, and games shouldn’t require a telephone-book-size manual filled with instructions. In fact, most online activities for kids should require little or no instruction at all.

Kids’ communities are more visually stimulating. They’re more colorful and lively. What adults might consider to be a distraction, such as blinking virtual Christmas lights, is a fun aspect of an online community’s design to kids.

The websites use less text and more headlines and illustrations. It’s not unheard-of to see hundreds of avatars doing hundreds of different things at the same time. Adults don’t like cluttered communities; kids thrive in them.