Small children today are more likely to navigate with a mouse, play a computer game and increasingly – operate a smartphone – than swim, tie their shoelaces or make their own breakfast.

This is according to ( Internet Security Company AVG (, which has released the second part of its Digital Diaries campaign. AVG Digital Diaries is a series of studies looking at how children's interaction with technology has changed.

This second piece of research covered 2200 mothers with Internet access and with children aged 2-5 in the USA, Canada, the EU5 (UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain), Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The mothers were given a list of tech skills and a list of life skills and asked which ones their very young children had mastered. The key results are as follows:

1 - More small children can play a computer game than ride a bike. 58% of children aged 2-5 know how to play a 'basic' computer game. For the UK and France that jumps to 70%. Even 44% of 2-3 year olds have the ability to play a computer game. By comparison, 43% of kids 2-3 can ride a bike

2 - More kids aged 2-5 can play with a smartphone application (19%) than tie his / her shoelaces (9%). Almost as many 2-3 year olds (17%) can play with a smartphone application as 4-5 year olds (21%)

3 - More small children can open a web browser (25%) than swim unaided (20%)

4 - There is no tech gender divide between young boys and girls. As many boys (58%) as girls (59%) can play a computer game or make a mobile phone call (28% boys, 29% girls)

5 - Mothers aged 35 and over are slightly better at teaching their kids 'life skills.' For example 40% of toddlers with mothers aged 35+ can write their own name compared with 35% of toddlers with mothers aged 34 or younger

6 - European children aged 2-5 lead their US counterparts in knowing how to make a mobile phone call (44% Italy vs 25% for the US), playing a computer game (70% UK vs 61% US) and operating a computer mouse (78% France vs 67% US)

According to AVG CEO JR Smith: "Technology is having a big impact on small kids today, creating an environment that is totally different to their parents childhood"

“The smartphone and the computer are increasingly taking the place of the TV as an education and entertainment tool for their children. While there is certainly nothing wrong with children learning to get to grips with technology early, parents obviously need to ensure that this is done in a responsible way, and that the tech skills that kids learn are balanced with key life skills.

“As our research shows, parents also need to start educating kids about navigating the online world safely at an earlier age than they might otherwise have thought.”

AVG Digital Diaries is a series of studies looking at children of different age groups. A year long piece of research, AVG aims to conduct a comprehensive study about children's technology habits.

The first piece of research, released in October 2010, found that most babies and toddlers have an online footprint by the time they are six months old.


For a blog post by JR Smith on the study, please go to:

For an infographic that visualises the research, please go to:

For country specific results please contact Bridey Lipscombe or Kate Brennan at the Rabbit Agency on +44(0)208 123 9541 /

* Key results *

All countries, 2-5 year olds who know:

1 - Tech skills
How to operate a computer mouse 69%
Turn a computer on and off 63%
Know how to make a mobile phone call 28%
Know how to open a web browser 25%
Can operate a smartphone or tablet app 19%
Know how to navigate between websites 16%
Know at least one web address 15%
Know at least one email address 5%

2 - "Life" skills
Know how to complete a jigsaw 77%
Can recognize their name when written 66%
Know how to ride a bike 52%
Know their home address 39%
Can write 1st and last name 37%
Know how to make their breakfast 27%
Know how to swim unaided 20%
Know what to do in an emergency (e.g call 911 / 999) 20%
Can tie own shoelaces 11%

Published on: 10:09AM on 19th January 2011