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Your Digital Kids

Kids@Play Explores What it Means to Grow Up Digital

kidsatplay1.jpg“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” —Walt Disney

For a child, today’s play is tomorrow’s work. Whether it’s playing with a toy doctor kit, a tea set, a digital camera and editing software, or inside of a virtual world, the skills they’ll need tomorrow are being honed.

But their skills will only be as good as the tools we give them. According to a recent report from NPD, a higher percentage of kids ages 4-14 are using computers than they are televisions. Fourteen percent of kids in this age group own their own computer. Twenty-eight percent use digital music players. Twenty percent own cellphones.

What they do with these tools is still a great social experiment. The web and consumer electronic devices have provided them with a vast sandbox in which to play and explore. A recent study from the MacArthur Foundation found that social networking is, contrary to many parents’ beliefs, a motivator—a place to practice both social and creative skills. Simulations teach them to play “what if” in the safety of a virtual environment. Educational software is able to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses with a granularity that a teacher in a classroom never could. The tools of youth—IM, chat, Facebook—are finding their way into the workplace. There’s an economic imperative to learn to play digitally.

At the  Kids at Play Summit we’ve enlisted some of the greatest minds from education, journalism, product and content development, and academic research to paint a picture of why being digital changes everything.

In his book, Playing the Future, Douglas Rushkoff said, “Our kids may be younger than us, but they are also newer. They are the latest model of human being, and are equipped with a whole lot of new features. Looking at the world of children is not looking backwards at our own pasts—it’s looking ahead.”

Welcome to the future. I founded as a forum to help the high tech industry continue to create and innovate in your respective fields so that kids everywhere can reap the benefits.