More Kids Can Work Smartphones Than Can Tie Their Own Shoes

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Nearly one out of every five kids (19 percent) around the world aged 2-5 are able to operate a smartphone application. Compare that to the number that can tie his or her own shoelaces -- just nine percent -- and you see how the development of tech skills are quickly outpacing more traditional life skills in today's youth.

Those statistics are just two of the discoveries of a recent study conducted as part of AVG's year-long Digital Diaries research on how children are being affected by technology. The global security software maker polled 2,200 mothers from the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. To participate in the poll, the mothers had to have access to the Internet and a child between the ages of 2 and 5.

Asked a series of questions, the mothers revealed that more small children today (58 percent) can play a basic computer game than can ride a bike. In France and the U.K, the number of children aged 2-5 that can play a basic computer game jumps to 70 percent. And more children can open a web browser (25 percent) than can swim unaided (20 percent).

The AVG study notes that "mothers aged 35 and over are slightly better at teaching their kids 'life skills,'" a phrase it uses to describe all non-tech-dependant tasks such as writing down one's name. I suspect this is because mothers aged 35 and over are less comfortable with the other skills measured in the survey -- playing computer games, opening web browsers, and making mobile phone calls (28 percent of boys, 29 percent of girls) -- than younger mothers.

"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."

They can start by downloading one of the apps for bike riding.

H/T All Things D.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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