Online shopping is at an all-time high,with trends predicting one thing to come: more growth.
There’s really never been a better time to join…
…that is, if you’re an adult.
Online transactions have become common, almost expected in fact, with the clicking of buttons and sending of messages happening rapidly and with ease. But it’s a whole different experience for a child… one that’s rather sophisticated and complex, actually.
Let’s walk through some of the main components involved in online transactions. Each one will get a rating:
“child friendly” — “questionable” — “not best for children”
- Finding the Right Item: For shoppers, finding the “right” items require a decent amount of thought and attention. Used items get tweaked (clothes hemmed, items upgraded, etc.), pictures may not match descriptions, electronics aren’t always compatible with all products, specific conditions may apply … the scenarios are unlimited. Searching for products often requires attentiveness to detail and needed specifications. For an adult, this can be quite the task to mentally map and organize. For children? Might as well ask them to go memorize the dictionary.
- Our final vote on finding the right item: Not best for children.
- Inquiring with the Seller: Essentially we’re communicating with strangers. Back-and-forth asking questions to learn more about the product; offering answers to potentially many questions; sending or asking for feedback to reflect your online experience; even following up for confirmation. Most online shoppers know the routine. But will your child be able to do all of that with confidence?
- Our final vote on inquiring with the seller? Questionable.
- Negotiating Offers: Adults know the tricks of the trade: ask for more than you think you may get, verbally contemplate when lowering the price, offer a price in the middle between your asking price and their offering price, etc. Success with reading between the lines and negotiating to your benefit isn’t a natural skill set. It comes from a lot of societal interaction and experiences.
- Our final vote on negotiating offers: Not best for children.
- Payment: With bank accounts being connected through PayPal, digital receipt options saving paper, and cell phones now processing payments, credit cards are starting to seem so old fashion. The convenience is welcomed for many. But for children, depending on their age, odds are slim they will pay by one of those trending ways, let alone with their own credit card. Even if they arecomfortable using a credit card, odds are high it’ll be someone else’s like a parents or siblings. This means that the person who is responsible for anything that happens it the adult. Not the safest bet.
- Our final vote on payment: Not best for children.
*Don’t forget: you may be able to influence your child, but you won’t be able to influence what (adult rated) content they come across.
So there you have it. For 3 out of the 4 processes involved with buying and selling online, vote has it they are “Not Best For Children.”
Here’s a few safe ways you CAN get your child involved (especially if it’s their items):
- Have your child sit with you while you search for a specific item
- Talk them through what things to look for and what things to avoid
Ex: “Look for ads that are in your area/city. It’s easier that way so you can see the product before you buy it AND also save on gasoline/shipping costs.”
Ex: “If you see an ad that doesn’t have a picture, keep looking. You want to be able to see for yourself what the item looks like.”
- Ask them if they can think of any questions for the seller/buyer – and then share the questions you’d ask.
This is all great exposure that comes with protected experience – a win/win situation.
Proactively help your child(ren) learn about the online world of transactions, as it won’t be long before they’ll be in the thick of more technological growth and teaching you!