The Rise of the Cyber Children

14 Jun

Kids in the Liverpool Apple store getting their Ipad fix

Following a visit to the Liverpool Tate’s latest show – Picasso: Peace and Freedom a little meandering through the city was called for.

While I still find the dramatic changes that have taken shape in Liverpool following their stint as the 2008 European Capital of Culture thoroughly remarkable, something other than the new architecture and radically reoriented city centre caught my attention.

For the first time since the iPhone’s bigger brother hit the stores I was struck by the drastic change in the demographic of the Apple Store.  The Liverpool One outlet was full, however, not with your usual cohorts of 20 something Apple fanboys dressed like a module of their graphics degrees counted on an knowingly ironic fashion sense.  Rather it was full of kids.  Not families. Children, on their own, all drooling over Steve Job’s latest gadget porn (and looking quite bemused about what the four of us in my group of friends, all in our 30s, could want from a space they were firmly making their own).

While the jury’s still out on exactly what the iPad is for I’ve never seen any non game specific technology engage a young audience in such pack fashion before.  Certainly a raft of commentators are already predicting that the iPad will be the most desirable and demanded present this Christmas – that much is pretty clear – but what interests me more is kids getting hold of a device that looks like it has the potential to shift the whole notion of computing, privacy and creativity within their worldview; differing even from kids five years their senior.  This led me to Brad Stone’s writing on what he sees as the emergent mini-generation gap and has already considered the impact with regards to the, probably soon to be obsolete, Kindle.  Funny how fast articles seem out of date these days.


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