Kids get early start in electronics

Yep, your 7-year-old knows more than you

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 6.7 years, falling from 8.1 years in 2005.

Children are exposed to televisions and desktop computers even younger, as young as four or five years of age, with satellite radios and portable digital media players (PDMPs) at the opposite end of the scale, at nine years old for the average initial exposure.

However, despite the findings, the average number of consumer electronic devices owned and used by children has fallen slightly compared to previous reports, with almost a quarter of households surveyed said they hadn't bought any electronics devices during the past 12 months.

Of those who had bought consumer electronic devices in the past year, mobile phones, digital cameras and PDMPs topped the list. Newer devices are also creeping onto the shopping list, with technologies such as TV-to-computer video devices and satellite radios recording high levels of household purchasing, and older devices such as film cameras and karaoke systems making the list.

The biggest rise in ownership for children has been seen in PDMPs, portable video games and digital cameras, while mobile phones and portable DVD players also proving popular with kids.

"Kids are drawn to the latest and greatest digital devices just as their parents are," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst with the NPD Group. "They appear to have no fear of technology and adopt it easily and without fanfare, making these devices a part of their everyday lives."

The report also found that children use electronic devices about three days a week. Topping the list were non-portable televisions, which showed 5.8 days of use, while mobile phones average 4.3 days and digital video recorders 4.1 days.

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