Should we embrace technology and let our children (the next generation) have smart phones or tablets, or is that consumerism gone wild? Perhaps current technology can solve problems for your family, like knowing where your children are? Whatever parent do we cannot get over the fact that technology is changing at an unbelievable rate.

Strathclyde Designs is amazed how many families (most in fact) seem eager to pander to their children’s every tech desire. Many families these days will end up spending more on their child’s phone data plan than they will on their first car. According to Scratch Wireless, a provider of inexpensive mobiles for teens, parents fork out an average of nearly £8000 for one child’s phone service between the ages of 12 and 22. Parents often put too much technology in the hands of kids before they are able to fully understand the consequences of using it. The parent’s buying motivation is often to ensure they can phone home, but instead children see these smart devices as status symbols, rather than a way to communicate with their parents.

But despite all the shiny lure of the smartphone, some parents still feel uncomfortable plugging our children into mobile devices. Childhood is precious and goes by in a flash. Many of us Luddites still dream of our kids having an innocent childhood roaming the fields with their friends, climbing trees or playing football. Rather than playing on a Xbox or Playstation, or sitting silently on a sofa instant messaging their friend sat beside them.

All this angst! Of course as designers,

a) we know where there’s angst there’s an opportunity and
b) we know that reality of the modern child’s life is far more mixed, interesting, and certainly not something we can hide from…

Technology is busy revolutionising our world and the new generation find it very exciting – and normal. And we need them feel this. They are the future designers. Future engineers. When you and I have been left behind, we will be grateful the younger generation did play, learn and develop in the new reality. For example, there is a positive link between video games and brain development that doesn’t get much attention! Yes, it is only one part of the brain, but creative thinking in a virtual world will be vital in our children’s future.

If you look at the infographic below you will agree that life and technology they were born into is very different from what the new generation is born into:

Of course, the most psychologically challenging blurring of lines for anxious parents, is the wearable computer. Over the past few years we have seen the explosion of the wearable technologies. There is a wearable device for just about every part of your body, from the Google glass, iWatch and fuel bands to measure and track your health and fitness. Going by the infographic above, one area that we believe will explode over the next decade will be wearable devices.

The future is exciting and there are great opportunities for product designers. We think these are great ideas products for the new generation. It’s all about fitting into and improving a person’s lifestyle. No matter the technology, if we can do that then we have something.

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