I.T Girls?

A recent study from Tescos Computers for Schools has shown that girls may now be ahead of boys when it comes to technology and its use in today’s society. It was an independent study completed by Tickbox research on behalf of Tesco, and the total survey sample base was 1,024 UK parents with children aged 7-16.

Despite I.T. and gadgets being traditionally perceived as the territory of boys, the survey found that girls perform better on the computer, with a higher percentage of girls being able to perform key operations such as using search engines, creating and editing word documents, downloading files, creating social networking profiles and using and manipulating photography.

This recent UK research correlates with “Indeed”, a study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in the USA. It found that in a surveyed group of Web users ages 12 to 17, more girls than boys blog (35% of girls, 20% of boys) and create or work on their own Web pages (32 % of girls, 22 % of boys). Girls also surpass boys when it comes to creating profiles on social networking sites (70% of girls 15 to 17 had one, versus 57 % of boys). Video sharing was the only area in which boys outdid girls as boys were almost twice as likely as girls to post videos.

 

The increasing shift from Web 1.0 (downloading information) to Web 2.0 (uploading information) appears to have captured the imaginations of girls in a way previously not seen before. According to research from the Berkman Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, it has been suggested that this may be because girls are encouraged to express themselves more and are using the internet as a tool for this. Boys seem to be more focused on using web 2.0 as a tool to share photos and videos possibly to “impress” peers rather than express their originality.

  The UK survey also uncovered some other interesting figures:

  • 73% of children surveyed are using a computer everyday
  • 76% of those are using a computer up to 3 hours/day.
  • 41% admit they couldn’t live without the internet
  • Nearly three quarters, 73% can use search engines and 62% can edit word documents by the age of 7

By their teens (16), children surveyed can confidently:

  • Create a social networking profile, 70%
  • Download music 59%
  • Download photos 71%,
  • Edit and manipulate photography 35%
  • Make a film and upload it 22%

An important finding of the research in the UK that is worth thinking about was the fact that more than half (57%) of parents questioned said they relied on their children for advice on how to use their computer and the internet. Only 40% of parents considered themselves to be the most proficient computer user in their household. Compaired with the growth in ability of their children this could have an important impact on e-Safety and it’s application in the home.

 

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