Children as Young as Six Lead the Way when it Comes to Technology

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A 'Millennium Generation' of 14 and 15-year-olds are the most technologically-savvy age group in the UK, according to new research from the communications regulator Ofcom.

The study also found that digital confidence begins a long decline one a person hits their late teens, with the nation's six-year-olds claiming they know as much about technology as their parents.

Six-year-old Kiara Skilton already despairs her parents' lack of digital prowess:

"They're like... 'Er, er how did she do that ...How did she work that out?'," she says.

Kiara's mother Paula believes growing up surrounded by gadgets has made her daughter more technologically proficient than her:

"If she wants to do something on the ipad she will go ahead and do it," she says.

"If we want to do something she'll tell us how to do it, and if we're doing it wrong she will tell us we're doing it wrong."

Kids like this, born after the turn of the millennium, are unlikely ever to have experienced the old-fashioned "dial-up" internet. They are the first generation to take a speedy broadband connection for granted.

Ofcom found they are developing very different communication habits to older generations, even when compared to 16-24-year-olds.

Jane Rumble, Head of Media Research at the UK's communications regulator, Ofcom, says our tech habits are transforming our daily lives:

"The amount of time that we as adults are spending on communications and media has gone up by two hours every day," she says.

"And as a consequence of this, we're actually spending more time using communications and media than we are sleeping."

The research - part of Ofcom's 11th Communications Market Report - found that teenagers are turning away from talking on the telephone.

Just 3 per cent of their communication time is spent making voice calls.

Instead, 94 per cent is text based through instant messaging and social networking. That compares to an average adult who will communicate with voice calls 20 per cent of the time.

And the majority of teens say they would be lost without their digital devices.

But teenager Caden Methven says not all teenagers have abandoned traditional ways of communicating:

"I think it's quite stereotypical of us as being just teenagers with hoodies being on their phones all the time," he says.

"I don't like it, I like to talk to people face to face, man to man, woman to woman."

Six in 10 adults in the UK now own a smartphone, compared to just one in five four years ago. And almost half of all households also have a tablet computer.

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