More kids can use a smartphone than tie their shoelaces

People of a certain age – anything over 21 probably! – can often find themselves amazed when they see kids interacting with technology.

Even the youngest children appear to be comfortable and confident using digital devices such as smartphones, more so than we could ever be!

But does this mean other life skills are being overlooked?

A study by internet security company AVG Technologies, carried out in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan, has looked into this more closely and produced some fascinating findings.

For instance, 19 per cent of two to five-year-olds were found to be able to play with a smartphone application.

By contrast, just nine per cent of kids in the same age group are able to tie their own shoelaces.

The research also revealed that there's little difference between both ends of this representative sample.

Indeed, 17 per cent of two to three-year olds can play with a smartphone app, as can 21 per cent of four to five-year-olds.

Interestingly, there's no significant gender bias when it comes to the use of technology among young kids.

AVG Technologies found that 28 per cent of boys and 29 per cent of girls can make mobile phone calls.

Similarly, 58 per cent of boys and 59 per cent of girls are able to play a computer game.

In fact, the proportion of two to five-year-olds who know how to play a basic computer game is higher than the share capable of riding a bike.

Figures also revealed that while 25 per cent of small kids can open a web browser, just 20 per cent can swim unaided.

Lloyd Borrett of AVC believes it is very “exciting and commendable” that young people are becoming so tech-savvy early in life, as it will stand them in good stead for the future.

“They will need these skills to succeed later in life, and perhaps increasingly, not so later in life,” he said.

Mr Borrett stated that technology has changed what it means to be a parent raising kids today, as youngsters are growing up in an environment that would be unrecognisable to their mums and dads.

“The smartphone and the computer are increasingly taking the place of the TV as an education and entertainment tool for children,” he observed.

However, the findings of the study do beg the question of how much is too much?

Are kids focusing on technology at the expense of other valuable life skills that they will need in the coming years?

The AVG study found that mothers aged 35 or over tend to be better than younger mums at teaching their children life skills.

Indeed, 40 per cent of toddlers with mums aged 35 or above are able to write their own name. 

By contrast, just 35 per cent of toddlers with mothers aged 34 or below have mastered this skill.

The answer may lie partly in the fact that many of the younger mums will also have grown up in a digital world, more so than those who are slightly older.

Parents are undoubtedly doing the right thing by exposing their kids to technology and helping them to become confident using gadgets like smartphones and computers.

But the figures certainly highlight a need to strike the right balance, so kids don't miss out on developing other essential skills and capabilities that they'll need in life.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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