How Technology Has Changed Childhood – Ten Stats

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Over the past eighteen months Internet security company AVG (disclosure – Rabbit client) has been carrying out research to see how technology has changed childhood, beyond recognition from someone who grew up twenty or thirty years ago.

With five waves looking at kids from birth across eleven countries, the end result is a fairly extensive piece of research.   Ten key stats are as follows:

1 – 81% of children under two currently have some kind of digital dossier or footprint, with images of them posted online. In the US that rises to 92%

2 – Though the average digital birth of children happens at around six months, a third (33%) of children have information and photos online within weeks of being born. In the UK, 37% of newborns have an online life from birth, whereas in Australia and New Zealand the figure is 41%

3 – A quarter (23%) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet. This figure rises to 34% in the US, while in Canada the figure is even higher at 37%. Fewer parents share scans of their children in France (13%), Italy (14%) and Germany (15%)

4 – 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

5 – 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)

6 – More than half (51 percent) of 6- to 9-year-olds use some kind of children’s social network such as Club Penguin or WebKinz. However, 58 percent of their parents admit they are not well-informed about their children’s online social networks

7 – Despite Facebook in theory barring access to the under 13s, in Spain and Italy most are on at age ten, in the US, US, UK, Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand it is 11, while in Germany most ‘graduate’ to these sites at 12.  Across all countries children reach so-called social media maturity at 11

8 – A majority of parents in the USA (61%), Spain (61%), Italy (54%) and Canada (54%) admit to secretly accessing their teen’s Facebook account without them knowing.

Across all 11 countries, 44% admitted to doing this with mothers (49%) more likely to check up on their teenage kids than fathers (39%). Though 48% of parents of 14 year old children access their kids’ Facebook accounts, a significant (40%) number of parents of 17 year olds still do so.

9 – A majority of parents in Spain (65%) and Italy (57%) fear that what their teens’ post on social networks now will harm their college, career or dating prospects in the future. In the US (40%) and Australia (42%) around 40% are concerned, while UK parents are somewhat more relaxed with only 30% being worried about their teen’s digital footprint.

10 – UK parents in particular give their kids’ teachers high marks with 59% saying that they do a good or very good job of preparing teens’ for digital adulthood, compared with 21% that feel they do a bad job.

A majority of Spanish (54%) and Australian (53%) parents likewise rate teachers as good or very good, while US parents (49%) are more ambivalent. Italian parents however (35% good job / 39% bad job) believe that when it comes to the Internet, the Italian schools system is failing their kids.

The full results and reports are over at

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