Kids of the millennium more confident with technology than most adults
On publishing its media literacy review, Ofcom revealed findings that suggested young children were more confident and fluent with technology than adults over 45.
Post millennial babies have been born into a world where high speed broadband and social media are the norm, with many toddlers able to operate touchscreen devices before they are able to talk.
Ofcom’s media research head, Jane Rumble, said: “As a result of growing up in a digital age, [young children] are developing fundamentally different communication habits from older generations, even compared to what we call the early adopters, the 16-24 age group.”
Using 800 children and 2000 adults as test subjects, Ofcom gathered media literacy data using a DQ (digital quotient) measure which attempts to gauge awareness, self confidence and knowledge of available technology and gadgets.
The results show that young children between six and seven years old are more confident, adept and knowledgeable about apps, gadgets and overall technology usage than those over the age of 45. The findings are sure to spark further debate as to whether exposing very young children to technology is harmful to their development or encourages technological intelligence.
Jordy Kaufman launched Australia’s first infant cognitive neuroscience laboratory at Swinburne University in Melbourne after questioning his son’s interaction with an iPod touch. Kaufman said: “It was so intuitive to him, I thought: there is something important going on here and we need to learn what effect this is having on learning and attention, memory and social development.” Kaufman leads a team at BabyLab which attempts to explore the impact of the use of technology on children aged two to five.
Whilst some worry that increased use of technology will have an overall negative effect, both physically and mentally, on young children, nursery chain Snapdragon are advocates for using iPads for instructional and educational use. Bath branch manager Lyndsey Tanner said: “I get really cross when people say that iPads are a sedentary activity. Actually, do you know what, come and spend a day with me and I’ll prove to you how wrong you are. It is the future, and it enhances their learning massively. It has never replaced any more traditional teaching methods we use. It is just another toy in the box.”