More children can use a smartphone than tie their shoelaces

Technology is changing the world to such a large extent that many children know how to use a computer or a smartphone but cannot ride a bike, swim, make breakfast or even tie their own shoelaces.

The shocking news came from a report by internet security firm AVG, which surveyed 2,200 mothers of children under five who had internet access as part of the Digital Diaries series of studies, highlighting how exposed children are to technology.

The results don’t just point to a single country either, as the report covers children in the US, Canda, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but children in certain regions had different levels of technology skills compared to others.

It was revealed that 58 percent of the children in the two to five year old bracket had mastered how to play a basic computer game, with the figure jumping to 70 percent for children in the UK and France, showing the prevalence of video games for toddlers.

Even in the two to three year old bracket nearly half, 44 percent, were able to play a computer game. In comparison, only 43 percent of the same age knew how to ride a bike, one of the first skills learned in childhood.

19 percent of children aged two to five are smart enough to use a smartphone, but only nine percent of the same age group can tie their shoelaces, one of the most basic life skills we’re thought. 21 percent of four to five year olds knew how to use a smartphone app, while 17 percent of two to three olds had the same skill, showing that children are being exposed to technology at an even younger age.

The report also found that there is very little gender divide in terms of technology skills, with 58 percent of boys knowing how to play a computer game, compared to 59 percent of girls. Likewise, 28 percent of boys could make a mobile phone call, compared to 29 percent of girls.

25 percent of young children could open a web browser, but only 20 percent could swim unaided, so parents may need to keep an eye on their youngsters on the PC just as much as in the pool.

Older mothers were seen as better at teaching life skills, with 40 percent of over 35s teaching their toddlers how to write their own name, compared to only 35 percent of mothers under 35. Let’s hope they’re teaching them to value their family more than social networking at least, since a previous study revealed that Facebook and the like was more important.

More European young children had technology skills than US children, with 44 percent of children in Italy able to make a mobile phone call, compared to 25 percent in the US. 70 percent of children in the UK could play a computer game, compared to 61 percent in the US, and 78 percent of kids in France could use a mouse, compared to 67 percent in the US.

AVG said that parents need to take these findings into consideration, because with children using technology at a younger age it means parents need to teach them computer and online safety earlier than previously expected. They might want to teach them how to tie their shoelaces while they’re at it.