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Digital Abilities Overtake Key Development Milestones For Today's Connected Children

AMSTERDAM and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Major moments in a child's life, such as the first time they ride a bike, appear to be increasingly superseded by digital coming-of-age capabilities like operating a smartphone or opening a web browser. This digital immersion is charted in the latest Digital Diaries study by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security, privacy and optimization to 172 million active users, which interviewed over 6,000 mothers across 10 countries about how their children use the Internet and smart devices.

The research reveals that by the age of 3-5, more children are able play a computer game (66 percent) or navigate a smartphone (47 percent) than tie their shoes (14 percent) or swim unaided (23 percent). AVG's Digital Diaries research was first undertaken four years ago when it surveyed mothers of children aged 0-9 years old on the impact of technology in family life. With 59 percent of households having three or more connected devices, according to AVG research, it may come as no surprise that children of this age are extremely digitally capable.

"This research shows us that knowing how to use digital devices is almost a birthright now. The challenge parents and society face, augmented by security and privacy technologies, is where this goes next. It's similar when teaching a child to read. Learning to read is the first challenge but it is what you do with that skill that determines its value and risks," said Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation in the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. "Like it or not, parents have a huge responsibility to educate their children in responsible and productive use of digital technologies. This research highlights the privacy and security considerations for interconnected homes but also the need to promote balanced lifestyles and that digital literacy is as much about use as access."

Some key findings from the research include:

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