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Hand a two-year-old child a shoe and she will probably end up throwing it. Hand her an iPhone, however, and she'll navigate through it to find her favorite app in no time. Those are two lessons that I (and other members of the Ars staff) have learned first-hand in recent years, but it's not just us. According to a new survey from security software maker AVG, kids can grasp new tech skills long before they even learn how to do normal kid things, such as swimming or tying their shoelaces.
AVG surveyed 2,200 parents with children between the ages of two and five in the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Nineteen percent said their kids know how to access a smartphone application (and it's not just the older kids either—17 percent of 2- to 3-year-olds did as well). Another 58 percent can play a computer game, and a quarter of kids can open and operate a Web browser. By comparison, only nine percent of kids between 2 and 5 can tie their shoelaces, 20 percent can swim without help, and 43 percent can ride a bike.
The numbers got even more interesting once AVG split them out by country—for example, 44 percent of Italian kids can successfully place a mobile phone call, compared to 25 percent in the US. Young boys and young girls, however, are almost equal in their skills; AVG said that 29 percent of girls could make a mobile call compared to 28 percent of boys, and 59 percent of girls could play a computer game compared to 58 percent of boys.
This may not be particularly shocking to those who have watched their kids zip through an iPad before even fully learning the alphabet, but AVG points out that parents need to be on top of technology too. "[T]hese children are growing up in an environment that would be unrecognizable to their parents," AVG CEO J.R. Smith said in a statement. "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."
Online safety is definitely becoming an issue to start thinking about at birth instead of later in life. However, those of you with kids should rest assured that the Internet isn't as scary a place for kids as it seems, as long as they're educated on how to handle themselves. The ...