back to article Kids get early start in electronics

Children are becoming tech-savvy from a younger age, a new study has discovered. While most adults long suspect their children could programme a DVD recorder more easily than them, this latest research appears to back it up. According to the study from NPD, children begin using consumer electronic devices at the average age of …

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  1. Mike Taylor

    Seven? You're having a laugh!

    What deprived area of the world are they talking about? My six year's primary school classroom has PC(s), wifi, a beamer and an interactive white board. Our playgroup has a PC and a queue of two year olds waiting to use it.

    Get with it, grandad.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, these kids are slow

    6.7 years? My son has been able to load and operate my portable DVD player unaided since he was a little over two years old (and could pick out a particular DVD and ask me to load it even before that).

    And yes, I know DVDs are *so* last millennium, but I wanted to start him out on hardware that he could damage without tears (mine).

  3. David Harper

    Gadgets, not soldering irons

    I confess that I was slightly disappointed when I read this article. From the headline, I'd conjured up a wonderful mental image of a class full of eager seven-year-olds wielding soldering irons and reciting the colour codes for resistors. Now that would be a great news story.

    Alas, it merely turns out that the rugrats are better at working DVD players and mobile phones than us old farts.

  4. George Johnson

    Sorry but you need to these days!

    I had my little one messing about with a mouse and some simple kids software just after they were able to sit up and concentrate for more than a few minutes. I don't want to be one of those pushy parents that have to have junior at the top of the class, but these days you have to get 'em started as early as you can. When they hit the big wide world they will need to know how to use gadgets and workstations if they are to stand a chance of gettting on in life. Sad but true.

  5. Brett Brennan

    Downsizing the "One-Eye-Nanny"

    There are two pieces to this observation: if my memory serves me, 2-9 year-old children don't have their own American Express cards quite yet. The parents are (obviously!) purchasing this technology for the children.

    The point here is that much of this "new" technology provides the parents with their most valuable commodity: "silent children". A 6-year-old sitting in the back of the auto with a PSP is a silent 6-year-old: something any parent will tell you is worth at least US$1000/month or more.

    Having observed technology penetration into my friends lives with and without children, the ones with kidz are usually the ones that have a high incidence of personal and household entertainment electronics. And the Family friends are the ones to most likely utter "go watch (TV, PS3, DVD, PC, etc.) because mommy is busy" when I'm visiting.

    Now, I'm a "closet" BOFH, the "malo tio Brett" (bad uncle Brett), so I try to engage my young friends in "educational" discussions rather than let the "one-eye-nanny" take them away. Things like "do you know how to make a sling-shot?" or "do you know how to make a burglar alarm out of empty tin cans?" - much to the "delight" of their parents. (The best is "Ice Fishing" taught to 1 year olds - how to pull ice cubes from a water glass at a restaurant and fling them on the floor...) I've already been warned that if I try to give the children the "Dangerous Books" that they will arrive on my doorstep for the entirity of Summer Vacation...

  6. Murray Pearson

    Kids & electronica

    I'm setting up my son's first computer this week. He's three and a half. It's a Mac (he upped his standards, as the shirt says).

    I was, like, EIGHT before I got to use a computer.

  7. Demian Phillips

    Electronics or Electronic Device Operation?

    I read the headline and was hoping there was a resurgence of education along the lines of building/tinkering/learning Electronics.

    Anyone can learn to press a button. What helps people is leaning what’s going on when the button is pressed.

    You wouldn’t say people are learning mechanics these days and go on to talk about how they know how to operate a car.

    I suppose it's time for me to look into that cane purchase (I'm only 34) so I can start waving it at young whippersnappers and complain loudly that back in my day we used leaded solder and we liked it. Kids these days with their ROHS!

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  9. Josh

    Next Microsoft CEO?

    Could one of these kids be the next Microsoft CEO in the next year? They've certainly passed the maturity requirement. You know, jumping around screaming and everything.

  10. Ole Juul

    Electronics - my foot

    I too was disappointed when I read the article. These kids are just playing with stuff which is made by others. I know most of them couldn't find pin one on an IC, let alone solder a bunch of them together to actually make anything resembling the devices they love so much. Simply using devices, no matter how skilfully, is NOT technology any more than driving a car is mechanics.

    I actually think that kids nowadays (TM) are less technologically inclined than they used to be. Most of them are looking at the front of the TV and have no idea what's inside. The more "tech savy" of them talk about "mods", which means making little changes to things which they've purchaced. Yes, there are lots of smart kids, just like there always have been, but I think that less of them are technologists. Actually making something, is out of the question. When it comes to electronics, if you want to know how to etch a printed circuit board, it's probably better to ask grandpa.

  11. Peter Hartley

    Electronics

    > "From the headline, I'd conjured up a wonderful mental image of a class full of eager seven-year-olds wielding soldering irons and reciting the colour codes for resistors. Now that would be a great news story."

    OK, it was age ten, not seven, but the headmaster at the state primary I went to had us doing just that. And learning about transistors, logic gates, 74 series TTL (real 74 series, mind, none of that modern 74LS or 74HSC nonsense), and all the rest. It was indeed a good news story, we all got on local radio and even Granada Reports with it. It was 1982.

    Peter

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