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Study: Our Kids Are Tech Geniuses Before They Can Tie Their Shoes

Study says kids are tech-savvy before reaching milestones
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's no surprise to hear that kids everywhere are embracing technology at younger and younger ages; that much is pretty obvious to anyone who has ever witnessed a toddler come within 10 feet of an iPhone. But a new study suggests their gadget-loving prowess is starting to come before some pretty basic milestones are reached. And that little factoid is a bit worrisome.

The latest stats come from a survey conducted by the computer security software company AVG. The company surveyed 6,017 parents in total, from a variety of countries: the UK, U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Australia, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand. Their goal was to see just how in-tune with the digital world kids are these days. But what they turned up was a bit more eye-opening than they expected.

An overwhelming 89 percent of the 6-to-9-year-olds polled were said to be active online. Just what are they doing exactly? It's all about virtual worlds: 46 percent of kids spend more time playing around on Webkinz or Club Penguin than doing anything else. As for the amount of time they spend online, 65 percent of kids are on for two hours or more each week—and perhaps unsurprisingly, U.S. kids lead the pack there. Twelve percent of American children were found to spend an incredible 10-plus hours a week online.

Some other tidbits pulled from the study? While 47 percent of kids can work their way around a smartphone, only 26 percent can actually make their own breakfast. In the 3- to 5-year-old range, only 38 percent can write their own names—first, middle and last—and a mere 14 percent can tie their shoes. (14 percent!) That last fact is all the more alarming, considering that's a skill that's usually accomplished by 6 years old. Now consider this: 57 percent of those same 3-to-5-year-olds can operate a tablet, no problem, and 66 percent of them can play a computer game.

Do you find these stats surprising, or not really?

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