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Technology major influence on girls, says survey



By Nicole Fletcher

In a reversal of the usual stereotype that considers technology to be a male-oriented pursuit, a UK survey has found that technology has become one of the biggest influences on girls' lives, far more so than for boys.

But before gender equality advocates start rejoicing, they may want to consider the driving force behind this new-found interest in all thing tech – Facebook.

In the study of 8 to 15-year-olds conducted as part of National Family Week, 41% of girls identified technology as one of their biggest influences, compared with just 17% of boys. Girls saw web sites such as Facebook as much more influential than television, magazines, celebrities and even their own brothers and sisters.

Asked to name the three most important things in their lives, the most popular choices for girls were friends, family and then Facebook. In another stereotype buster, 73% of boys said family was the most important thing in their lives, followed by money and friends. Social networking was a much lower priority for boys, with just 6% naming it to their top three.

The survey, carried out last month and based on 3,000 parents and 1,000 children across the UK, looked at the participants perceptions of family life.

Despite the amount of time devoted to Facebook, the survey doesn't cast social networking as isolating or destructive to relationships. Instead, it paints a picture of girls using social networking as "central to their social and family life", indistinguishable from their real-world interactions with family and friends.

However, there may still be some cause for concern among parents. The survey suggests that parents continue to underestimate how important technology is to their kids, failing to keep up with their children's use of tech gadgets and services. Instead, they overestimate their own importance in their kids' lives.

Not now, Mom. I have to check Facebook!  



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