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The so-called technology gender gap has slammed shut in the US: university students, whether male or female, report near identical take-up of technology, according to the latest 360 Youth College Explorer Study.

A survey of over 4,000 students found that men and women spend similar amounts of time playing computer games online, are equally likely to own a handheld game system and to send text messages on their phones.

Net use is pervasive: 95 per cent of students are online, and 65 per cent connect via broadband. This may explain why students are four times more likely to download music on the Net than Joe Public is. Even so, the actual numbers are still very small. Just eight per cent of men and five per cent of women claim to be regular downloaders. The RIAA must be pleased.

The survey did flag a few gender differences: men are still far more likely to own a games console, with 15 per cent playing daily, compared to two per cent of women. MP3 players are also more popular among the guys: twice as many men as women like their portable music in its solid state.

Women still lead the field in communication: they are more likely to own mobile phones (82 per cent vs. 74 per cent) and answering machines. ®

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