As parents, we often feel that our children are streaks ahead of us in a lot of things. As our cute little bundles of joy quickly become boisterous toddlers and then independent primary schoolers, our children seem to grow up and beyond us far faster than we can keep up with. It seems that, on the technological front, they’re outstripping us too.
New research conducted by Ofcom, as part of the eleventh annual Communications Market report, found that British children are easily matching middle-aged folks’ technological knowhow by the gentle age of six. In fact, British children’s technical prowess seems to be an unstoppable force, whilst their parents are being left behind, skills-wise.
Speaking from personal experience where, just the other day my nine year old daughter had to teach me how to turn on the television (yes, really!) and showed me how to reconfigure my Instagram to create better images, I can only agree with these research findings.
Ofcom’s report went on to highlight that technological skill seems to peak during the teenage years and, during their study of 2,000 adults and 800 children, they uncovered that youths between the ages of 14 and 15 were the most digitally savvy.
Using a “Digital Quotient” (DQ) scoring system that isolated technical skills and confidence, Ofcom researchers found that their six-year-old participants ranked the same as 45-year-old counterparts. But, after the age of 55, DQ scores began to fall quite rapidly.
There are a number of obvious reasons for this but, most primarily, it seems that being born into a world where the Internet is a part of almost every family’s daily life, instantly forges a set of digital skills that today’s parents only learnt much later on in life. For example, as children we’d have had to consult bulky encyclopedias for our school projects but our children merely pop their query in a search bar.
As technology becomes more of a central force in our daily lives, and in everything we do, what kind of skills will our grandchildren master before their sixth birthday? The future, it seems, is already here.