AVG, an internet security company, publicized results of their Digital Diaries research study of 2200 families across the world who had internet access and toddlers in the home. Here were the key findings:
- More 2 year olds know how to play a computer game than ride a bike. 58% of American kids aged 2-5 know how to play a ‘basic’ computer game. Only 43% of kids 2-3 can ride a bike.
- More kids aged 2-5 know how to use a smartphone “app” (19%) than tie his or her shoelaces (9%). Interestingly, almost as many 2-3 year olds can play with an app as 4-5 year olds (17 vs 21%)
- More small children know how to do a Google search than swim (25 vs 20%)
By the way, there is no gender difference here. Girls and boys are equally tech savvy. But, European kids beat American kids hands down in knowing how to use a cell phone to make a phone call or play a computer game.
My take on this? Given the early age that kids are getting acquainted with technology these days, we parents should add a media as a new category when it comes to “safety proofing” our homes. Buying safety gates, cabinet locks, and outlet covers is only one part of keeping your little ones protected. Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of screens. Make sure you approve of the content before your child gains access to it. And, be sure your child’s online identity remains anonymous.
We should also remember that, for our kids, learning to tie shoes and swim are as important (if not more important!) as learning to navigate the latest electronic toy.