Study: More Children Can Play a Computer Game Than Ride a Bike

By Katie Kindelan Comment

Remember when childhood was marked by the day you took the training wheels off your bicycle, learned bunny ears to tie your shoes and popped your own Pop-Tart in the toaster for breakfast? Right, we don’t either, thanks to technology.

If there was ever any lingering, 20th century doubt that technology is now a fundamental part of our lives from birth on, these new statistics are certain to erase it.

A new study from Internet security company AVG on how children interact with technology found that 69 percent of children aged two to five can use a computer mouse, but only 11 percent can tie their own shoelaces. Meanwhile, more young children, 58 percent, know how to play a computer game than swim, 20 percent, or ride a bike, 52 percent.

There is also no gender divide, the study found. 58 percent of boys know how to play a computer game, compared to 59 percent of girls. Likewise, 28 percent of boys could make a mobile phone call, compared to 29 percent of girls.

The study, part of AGV’s “Digital Diaries” series of studies highlighting how exposed children are to technology, surveyed 2,200 mothers of children under five who had Internet access.

The series’ first study, released last October, examined the growing tendency of parents to upload pictures of their newborns, resulting in 92 percent of children having an online footprint before they are 2 years old, and the average “digital birth” occurring at around six months old.

This latest report polled mothers in the United States, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, and found children in certain regions have different levels of technology skills compared to others.

Italian children, for example, are particularly apt at on-the-go communication, with 44 percent able to use a mobile phone, compared to 25 percent in the U.S. American children are, however, on top when it comes to using smartphone and tablet apps, with 30 percent able to operate such an app.

70 percent of children in the United Kingdom could play a computer game, compared to 61 percent in the U.S., and 78 percent of kids in France could use a mouse, compared to 67 percent in the U.S., the study found.

Despite those differences, the 21st century trend of teaching, and learning, technology from birth on appears to be universal.

Overall, AVG found 21 percent of four to five year olds knew how to use a smartphone app, while 17 percent of two to three olds had the same skill, showing that, across borders, children are being exposed to technology at a younger, and younger, age.