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Young kids are acquiring tech skills ahead of life skills

New study finds more kids can play computer games than ride a bike

If you don’t believe that technology is playing an increasingly influential role in our kids’ lives, then a new study from security company AVG will probably change your mind.

The survey involved 2,200 mothers of children aged 2-5 from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. The mothers were given a list of technology skills and a list of “life skills” and asked which ones their very young children had mastered.

The results show that more young children know how to play a computer game (58 percent) and open a web browser unaided (25 percent) than swim (20 percent) or ride a bike (52 percent). They also found that 69 percent of these 2-5-year-olds can use a computer mouse, but only 11 percent can tie their own shoelaces.

European children lead their U.S. counterparts in several tech areas, including knowing how to make a mobile phone call (44 percent in Italy vs. 25 percent in the U.S.) and playing a computer game (70 percent U.K. vs. 61 percent U.S.). However, there is no gender divide when it comes to young kids and technology, with an equal number of boys and girls displaying the same skill-set across a range of tech products.

Other results tend to suggest that mothers aged 35 and over are slightly better at teaching their kids life skills. For example, 40 percent of toddlers with mothers aged 35-plus can write their own name compared with 35 percent of mothers aged 34 or younger.

“Technology has changed what it means to be a parent raising children today – these children are growing up in an environment that would be unrecognizable to their parents. The smartphone and the computer are increasingly taking the place of the TV as an education and entertainment tool for children,” said AVG CEO, J.R. Smith. “As our research shows, parents need to start educating kids about navigating the online world safely at an earlier age than they might otherwise have thought.”

Should parents be concerned that kids are learning computer and other technology skills ahead of life skills? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

Comment by Christina S., posted 1/25/2011, 5:52 AM:

Good point, Christy. Very true regarding the expectations of a two year old! -Christina S. Kabongo.com Team Member
Comment by Christy, posted 1/20/2011, 7:54 PM:

Talk about flawed research. Who expects a 2 year old to be able to tie their shoes, ride a bike or swim? These are skills generally picked up later in life. Heck, some people never learn to swim. Using a mouse requires significantly lower fine motor skills than tying shoes.
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