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Brit kids match 45-year-old fogies' tech skill level by the age of 6

Ofcom paints a picture of upside-town tech Britain

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The British children of today – who have rarely heard the chirping of a dial-up connection – have matched middle-aged folks' tech ability by the age of six, new Ofcom research has claimed.

A report (PDF) produced by Blighty's communications regulator has sketched a topsy-turvy image of connected Britain, where kids are way more digitally savvy than their decrepit parents.

Adolescents aged 14 and 15 are the most digitally savvy age group in Britain, the report claimed. These results are based on a survey of 2,000 adults and 800 children intended to investigate all the markets Ofcom regulates and "better understand people's technology literacy".

Each participant was given a "digital quotient" (DQ) score, which reflects their ability to saddle the bucking bronco that is modern technology. According to the survey, six-year-olds have the same DQ as 45-year-olds, while 60 per cent of people aged 55 or over have a below average DQ.

"We hit our peak confidence and understanding of digital communications and technology when we are in our mid-teens; this drops gradually up to our late 50s and then falls rapidly from 60 and beyond," Ofcom said.

The research is contained in the eleventh annual Communications Market report, which also analyses the state of the marketing industry within the TV, radio, telecoms and post sectors.

Other nuggets include the claim that Mr or Mrs Average of Blightyshire spends more time using media or communications each day than they do sleeping, at eight hours 41 minutes compared to eight hours 21 minutes. Young 'uns aged between 16 and 24 have mastered the art of multitasking, squeezing 14 hours of media use into just nine hours and 8 minutes.

Some 44 per cent of homes contain at least one fondleslab, up from 24 per cent a year ago. This has played a role in introducing the elderly to the internet.

"For years there has been a very stubborn resistance by the over 65s to accessing the internet," said James Thickett, research director at Ofcom. "In the last three years we have seen that change and we think that's down to tablets."

Spend on digital advertising was estimated to be worth £6.3bn in 2013 – a 15.2 per cent improvement on 2012.

Just under 60 per cent of people use a video-streaming service, and just under half said they'd had used a streaming music site in the past year. Hearteningly, more than 84 per cent of those surveyed still owned dusty old paper books. ®

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